MSU Libraries observes Banned Books Week through Oct. 7

Contact: Pattye Archer

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University Libraries is once again celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week now through Oct. 7.

Focusing on the theme, “Let Freedom Read,” MSU Libraries joins others across the country using special events, social media, displays and more to highlight the importance of free access to information.

“In an environment that seeks to foster free and open inquiry in support of research and teaching, Banned Books Week helps highlight the chilling effect that book banning has on the free exchange of ideas and open public discourse,” said David Nolen, associate dean for Archives and Special Collections.

Events planned for the week include a Banned Graphic Novels Panel Talk at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the John Grisham Room of Mitchell Memorial Library; a Banned Books Read Out with the Performance Art and Criticism Class at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Drill Field entrance to Mitchell Memorial Library; and a Blind Date with a Banned Book, which runs all week.

“The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights provides the right to read and access information. As librarians, we support the Freedom of Information and expression of ideas,” said Assistant Professor Corinne Kennedy, also a student success coordinator and chair of MSU Libraries’ observation of Banned Books Week.

“Every year there are books challenged, and some titles that continue to be repeatedly contested and demanded for removal from library shelves and class curriculum. Librarians and those who support the Freedom of Information celebrate Banned Books Week every October with a purpose to teach the community about censorship and the ability to access and read information without the interference of the government or other entities,” she said.

For more than 40 years, Banned Books Week has brought together the entire book community—librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers of all types—in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular, according to the American Library Association’s Banned and Challenged Books website. The books featured during the week all have been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship, Kennedy said.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021.

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