Friday, September 21, 2007
In Honor of National Banned Books Week, SALA Presents "We Read Banned Books! A Celebration of Banned and Challenged Literature"
National Banned Books Week is right around the corner, September 29th to October 6th. To recognize this event, the UW Student Chapter of the American Library Association (SALA) is presenting a special event. Titled "We Read Banned Books! A Celebration of Banned and Challenged Literature," this free event will take place on October 4th, 2007 at 6:30 pm in Room 220 of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library, right off of Red Square on the UW Campus. Head to the SALA homepage for more details.
The following remarks about this important week are from Sonja Sutherland, MLIS student, SALA vice-president, and MC of "We Read Banned Books!":
"At the end of September, libraries across the country celebrate Banned Books Week, as they have done every year since 1982. The American Library Association (ALA) compiles and publishes a list books that were challenged or banned in the previous year. Among the most challenged books over the past decade have been Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Madelaine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, J.K. Rowling’ Harry Potter series, Lois Lowry’s The Giver and, oddly enough, a picture-book by Martin Hanford called Where’s Waldo. Along with these are classics that are continually challenged: The Catcher in the Rye, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, to name just a few.
"Although the ALA spearheads Banned Books Week, a variety of other organizations commemorate it in their own way. For instance, Amnesty International draws attention to the fate of those who are persecuted for works that they write, circulate or read. This year, their list includes writers such as Anna Politskovskaya, a Russian journalist who had been harassed by authorities for writing about the human rights situation in Chechnya, and was murdered in her apartment building last year; it also includes Karim Amer and Abdel Moneim Mahmoud, two prominent bloggers in Egypt who were imprisoned for their writing.
"I’ll close with a tiny excerpt from one of my favorite speeches regarding freedom of expression, delivered by Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. in 1951 to the Authors Guild Council. I find that his words are just as relevant now as they were then. In fact, if one simply substitutes the word "Communist" with "terrorist," the result is startlingly applicable to today’s political scenario:
"'We know that the Communist threat is the basis of the fears that sweep our communities. We know that that threat has substance to it. ... But we also know that the safety of our civilization lies in making freedom of thought and freedom of speech vital, vivid features of our life.'”
We hope to see you all there.