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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Banned Books: Libraries’ rebellious side

Ginny Polin / Arizona Daily Wildcat
band books
Ginny Polin
Ginny Polin / Arizona Daily Wildcat band books

University Libraries teamed up with the Progressive Librarians Guild to bring exhibits and events together for Banned Books Week, for the second year in a row.

Banned Books Week was created by the American Library Association and “”highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States,”” according to the American Library Association’s website.

“”It’s really a celebration of our freedom to read,”” said Rebecca Blakiston, UA instructional services librarian.

This year there will be two exhibits, one in the Main Library and one in the Science-Engineering Library.

“”It’s showing other people that these are examples of books that have been banned and it’s mainly getting the word out that we still ban books for simple issues,”” said Andrea Goodrich, president of the UA’s chapter of the Progressive Librarians Guild. “”It’s part of what we stand for as progressive librarians.””

Goodrich says that as progressive librarians they tackle issues other librarians don’t and look at the community at large.

The Main Library exhibit has more than 50 books on display, with a special focus on Harper Lee’s “”To Kill a Mockingbird.””

“”That’s one of the most challenged books over time,”” Blakiston said.

They chose “”To Kill a Mockingbird”” not only because it is one of the most challenged but also because this year marks the 50th anniversary of its publication.

At the exhibit a list of the most frequently challenged books in the last year is available.

Also on display is an exhibit created by the Tucson chapter of REFORMA, the national association to promote library and information services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking.

The display examines H.B. 2281, the ethnic studies bill.

“”TUSD is a few blocks away from campus so it’s part of the community, and there is also a really big tie between the ethnic studies program at UA and the Mexican studies program at TUSD,”” said Jeffery Cruz, REMORA president, Progressive Librarians Guild member and information and library science graduate student.

Cruz said the exhibit examines the text of the bill and a letter Tom Horne wrote in 2007 that specifically names three textbooks.

“”We’re not necessarily trying to take a stand on the issue. My personal hope for the UA, even though I have a stance and REFORMA has a stance, is just to provide information and for people to be able to access that information and form their own opinions,”” Cruz said.

The science library exhibit is new this year and explores scientists that have been banned such as Galileo Galilei.

Like many books throughout the ages, the works of scientists that have stirred up controversy have also been banned.

In addition to the exhibits, there will be two events for Banned Books Week.

The first event is today and will be a free screening in the Gallagher Theater of “”To Kill A Mockingbird”” and the second will be a documentary screening and read out/speak out.

The read-out will involve panel discussion about access to a diversity of ideas and the freedom to read. In addition to the panel, people will have the opportunity to read aloud from banned books.

Attendees can read from the selection of banned books available or bring their own banned book.

“”There’s a lot of censorship that’s still going on,”” Blakiston said. “”It is an issue that is worth bringing up to awareness and let them have an open discussion about censorship.””If you go:

Banned Books Week: Free Movie Screening of “”To Kill a Mockingbird””

When: Tuesday, Sept. 28,  Tuesday, at 6:030 p.m.

Where: Gallagher Theater in the Student Union Memorial Center

If you go:

Banned Books Read Out/Speak Out: Modern forms of censorship read-out and panel discussion

When: Thursday, Sept. 30, Thursday, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Where: UA in the Main Library


Richard DiRusso, Head of Collection Development, Pima County Public Library,

Agnes Griffen, former Director, Tucson-Pima Public Library (now Pima County Public Library)

Kay Mathiesen, Assistant Professor, School of Information Resources and Library Science, David Robinson, Associate Professor, Department of English


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