College community to mark Banned Book Week with readings

Students, faculty and staff at SUNY Oswego will have the opportunity to read excerpts from banned books during Banned Books Week, Oct. 1 to 5, in front of the college’s Penfield Library at 1 p.m. each day.

“People don’t realize all the books that have been banned for one reason or another. We take for granted the right to read books; however, this was not always the case. We had to fight for it,” said Associate Library Director David Clendinning.

Clendinning said Banned Books Week is an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association and is celebrated across the country. He emphasized that the purpose of the event is to “publicize material people have seen fit to ban, to promote reading and to celebrate our First Amendment rights.” 

Students, staff or faculty members who wish to participate in the reading can pick a book from the list of banned books that is available on the ALA Web site. Clendinning said participants will be given up to 10 minutes to read aloud from the chosen book.

The banned list includes such books as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck and “Fallen Angels” by Walter Dean Myers.

Among the readers signed up are Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences Rhonda Mandel and Associate Provost for Multicultural Opportunities and Programs Catherine Santos. Clendinning said about three people a day will read for an hour in all.

Those who wish to read aloud can notify library staffers at the reference desk in Penfield Library.

In addition to the daily readings, Penfield Library will have a display in its lobby in observance of Banned Books Week on view during library hours that week. The display will include books that have been or remain censored, along with information on censorship and important court cases regarding censorship.

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(Posted: Sep 19, 2007)