Rallying Rebels – Banned Books Week 2014

By October 20, 2014Writing about Writing

Rebels, Unite!

You might not know it, but you’ve almost certainly read a challenged or banned book in your lifetime: The Great Gatsby, The Giver, Harry Potter, The Diary of Anne Frank,  HowlThe Fault in Our Stars, The Lord of the RingsTo Kill a Mockingbird, heck, even The American Heritage Dictionary and your good ole Merriam-Webster Dictionary have been banned.

You: “Yeah, but people don’t ban books any more, right?” 

WRONG! Between the years 2000-2009, 5,099 challenges to texts were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

You: “But I support the freedom to read! What can I do to show that support? There should be an event of some kind to raise awareness, maybe even a week’s worth of events.”

Well guess what? There is!

Banned Books Week, which took place Sept. 21-27 this year, is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read and the value of free and open access to information. Click on the following link for a bannedbooksweek.org’s list of Banned Books That Shaped America. We continued our annual celebration of Banned Books through a series of events at DePaul, with funding provided by the Judith Krug Fund Banned Books Week Event Grant.

You: “Events? That’s great, tell me more! I forgive you for stealing my idea.”


SCRAWL Radio – Discussing Banned Books Week and the UCWbL Events

Sept. 19th: Outreach Graduate Assistants James N. and Carolyn R., along with Heather Jagman, Coordinator of Reference, Instruction, and Academic Engagement at DePaul University Library, were guests on SCRAWL Radio in an episode that promoted our BBW events. Click here to access the auido of the episode and see a photo of the SCRAWL radio hosts and guests.


Banned Books Week Pop-Up Shop

Sept. 23rd: Our first event was a gathering at the DePaul Loop campus which featured buttons, bookmarks, and of course doughnuts and coffee. Lots of people stopped by to show their support, and to check out banned books graciously provided by the Library.


DePaul students learn from Heather Jagman of the DePaul University

Libraries about BBW and our various events


Banned Books Week Read Out

Sept. 24th: This event in the Student Center at Lincoln Park featured students reading aloud from a large selection of banned books provided by the library and the private collection of Outreach team member Jen F.


Right: Outreach team member Jen F. reads at the BBW Read Out

The Outreach team put together a slide show presentation highlighting specific banned books, and also a table set up by the library where students could check those books out, plus a button making station where you could make buttons featuring the covers of your favorite banned books!

Students stopped by our table, checked out books, and read passages from challenged texts such as A Clockwork Orange and Howl. Refreshments were enjoyed by all, including the Outreach team.


From left: UCWbL Outreach GA Carolyn R., UCWbL Outreach Director Liz Coughlin, UCWbL Outreach GA James N. 





Banned Books Week “Banned Chicago! Panel Discussion”

Sept. 24th: Carolyn R. moderated this BBW Panel Discussion, which ran from 5-6:15pm and took place in the Richardson Library. Panelists included: James Klise, who works at a Chicago-area library and is a published author of young adult novels (including Love Drugged and The Art of Secrets); Aaron Renier, published comic artist and lecturer in CDM at DePaul; and Lane Tech students Sam and Karolina, who are student members of Lane Tech High School’s banned books club, 451 Degrees, and readers of Persepolis, banned by Chicago Public Schools from 7th grade classrooms in 2013.


From left: Aaron Renier, James Klise, Outreach GA Carolyn Rudinsky, and Lane Tech students Sam and Karolina participate in the panel discussion

Topics discussed include the importance of free access to information, the controversial and complicated practice of censorship, and the unique vulnerabilities of comic books and graphic novels due to those genres’ visual natures. The discussion was followed by a Reception with tasty treats and a chance to talk to the panelists.


You: “So that’s all great, but, um, it’s obviously a littl bit late for me to attend this year. What can I do?”

Fortunately, Banned Books Week will take place again in September of next year. Keep an eye out for our events!

You: “Will do! I’m marking my calendar now.”

Great! We’ll see you there.

– The UCWbL Outreach Team