In recognition of Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating the open access to information and the importance of the First Amendment in our society, the N.C. State University Chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists will be reading a selection of banned books Monday, Sept. 27, and Wednesday, Sept. 29, on the campus Brickyard and well as sponsoring an exhibit of suppressed books in the D. H. Hill Library.
May Chung, SCJ student president, said, “It’s important that we recognize the freedoms that sometimes we take for granted. Throughout history, not everyone has had the same freedoms we have at NCSU today.”
At the end of the week, on Saturday, Oct. 2, Marian Fragola, director of program planning and outreach for the NCSU Libraries, will discuss Banned Books Week and the “Banned Books Soundwave” project with Damian Maddalena of WKNC 88.1FM from 8-10 a.m.
The readings and discussion are part of a campus-wide recognition of free expression that also includes a website — “Banned Books SoundWave”— filled with selections from banned books read by a broad spectrum of members of the University community. The website was launched Sept. 24.
Running the last week in September, the ALA’s program is designed to remind us all of the benefits of intellectual freedom and to highlight the dangers of censorship by spotlighting of the history of actual or attempted book banning across the United States. To support this nationwide celebration of open access to information, the NCSU Libraries has recorded a range of campus champions of free speech reading from books that have been suppressed in our sometimes troubled history of remaining true to our fundamental right to read what we please.
On the “Banned Books Soundwave” site, you can hear University Chancellor Randy Woodson read from The Grapes of Wrath, baseball coach Elliott Avent from Gone with the Wind, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Jeffery Braden from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, as well as over a dozen others reading from the sometimes surprising titles that have been challenged or actually kept from the public. The website also gives a brief synopsis of why works on this quite long list have been challenged or banned.
“Librarians are especially aware and vigilant of our role in defending the public’s right to open and free access to information,” said Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries. “While an unfortunate number of books have actually been banned, our profession is proud that we, along with book sellers, teachers, and other members of the community, have kept so many others freely available for people to make up their own minds about.”