FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From: Library Communications
Contact: Anne R. Kenney, 255-6875
Date: Sept. 20, 2006
Cornell University Library Sponsors Banned Book Week Events
Cornell University Library wants to hear what you think about censorship.
An interactive display in Olin Library next week will ask members of the Cornell community to list their favorite banned books and give their thoughts on censorship. The display is part of a larger exhibition that will be in Olin’s lobby to highlight Banned Book Week, which is Sept. 23-29.
Library-sponsored Banned Book Week events include a Speak Out co-sponsored with the Cornell American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Sept. 28th, the Olin exhibition, and a smaller exhibition in Asia Reading Room of Kroch Library.
“The Cornell University Library is pleased to co-sponsor the Speak Out on banned books with the Cornell ACLU, “ said Anne R. Kenney, the associate university librarian for instruction, research and information services. “Libraries have a strong and proud tradition of supporting free and universal access to information representing a wide range of views and subjects. Book banning is antithetical to this principal.”
On Sept. 28th, members of the Cornell ACLU, a student organization, will be reading excerpts from banned books at Ho Plaza beginning at 12 p.m. The organization will be asking spectators to guess the book the excerpt was taken from, and rewarding those who give correct answers with a copy of the novel.
The Olin exhibition will feature favorite banned books chosen by Cornell faculty, librarians, and students as well as a listing of the top 50 banned books in the U.S., which includes four Cornell authors: Toni Morrison, Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, and E.B. White.
The Kroch exhibition in the Severinghaus Asia Reading Room will feature works banned in Asian countries during the 20th century. Some of the titles to be highlighted include The Good Earth, banned in China until the 1980s; a paper co-written in 1971 by Cornell government professor Benedict R. Anderson exposing the unsuccessful Indonesian military coup of 1965, which resulted in Anderson’s deportation from the country; and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, banned in Japan after a translation appeared in 1950. Its publisher was subsequently convicted of obscenity charges.
Ithaca events include a reading by novelist and journalist Sarah Mkhonza at 3 p.m. on Sept. 24th at the Unitarian Church, which is sponsored by the Ithaca City of Asylum’s “Voice of Freedom.” Mkhonza fled her native Swaziland after speaking out for women’s rights.
Banned Book Week “celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that option might be considered unorthodox or unpopular,” according to the American Library Association. The week is to “stress the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them … [because] intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.”
Banned Book Week is Sept. 23-29. For more information about the Speak Out and the Library exhibitions, email email@example.com or the Cornell ACLU at firstname.lastname@example.org.