Saturday, January 16, 2010

SJSU Students celebrate Banned Books Week

by Matthew Davis

On Sunday, October 4, 2009, the King Library hosted a Banned Books Week read-a-thon. This was one of four Banned Books Week events jointly sponsored by ALASC and LISSTEN. Other events were held in Fullerton, on Elluminate, and in Second Life.

Banned Books Week is an annual tradition, occurring the last week of September, when we celebrate the freedom to read. Banned Books Week, founded in 1982 by Judith Krug, the long-time director for ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom. LISSTEN Treasurer, Gayle Pellizzer, dedicated a special presentation to Judith Krug's accomplishments and contributions at this year's event in honor of Judith Krug's passing in April 2009.

During the read-a-thon, students read banned or challenged books, including a diverse selection of titles, including Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut to Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J Dubner. Most students found titles from ALA lists and when possible, students explained why the books were banned or challenged. Some of the books, like James Joyce's Ulysses, were tried for obscenity (United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, 1933) and are somewhat tame or humorous by today’s standards.

Also during the read-a-thon, a raffle was held for audience members. Some of the door prizes awarded were Banned Books Week pins, tote bag, $10 Amazon gift card, and a copy of the Kite Runner. There were also opportunities to make Banned Books Week bookmarks using crafts donated by a member of ALASC. Refreshments were served.

Please join us in the fun next year at one of our Banned Books Week celebrations. Check out the LISSTEN website for information about future events.

Matthew T. Davis is the LISSTEN President. He will graduate in May of 2010 and hopes to work in the archival field.

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