Keep the light on and your mind open: Students, faculty, staff and area residents will answer riddles to win prizes, discuss ideas, and eat snacks at the UToledo Banned Books Week Vigil Thursday, Sept. 26, in Health and Human Services Building Room 1711B.
Every fall for 22 years, the University community has celebrated the right to read and think freely because “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark.” This theme of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, Sept. 22-28, highlights the role reading plays in democracy.
The free, public open house champions the right to read, think, speak and create freely.
“The battle for the First Amendment is never won,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UToledo professor of communication and coordinator of the UToledo Banned Books Vigil. “Somebody is always eager to censor books, music, TV, movies, art and other cultural forms of free expression in the name of protecting us from ourselves.”
Recently, a Catholic school in Nashville banned the “Harry Potter” series, claiming the books contain spells and curses. In 2018, censorship affected 531 resources, including books, magazines and databases, according to the American Library Association.
Many instances of banning and challenges are not reported, Kilmer said.
“All books are vital to our democracy,” she said. “The ones that lack lasting value will fall away because they will not merit literary attention or remain interesting to the next generation. All books are not equally good reading, but each person must determine for him or herself what to read without outside interference.”
The book festival calls attention to everyone’s right to read what he or she wants, Kilmer added.
UToledo faculty and area teachers are invited to bring classes. Attendance vouchers will be provided.
Programs will start every 30 minutes during the event, which coincides with the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. Door prizes will be given out every half hour. The first 300 guests will receive a grab bag at the door. Pizza is scheduled to arrive around 3:45 p.m.
Topics and speakers will be:
• 9 a.m. — “How Copyright Rules Cramp Free Speech” by Lucy Duhon, collection sharing coordinator and scholarly communications librarian in University Libraries.
• 9:30 a.m. — “The Sound of Silence: What Does It Look Like?” by Dr. Monita Mungo, assistant professor of sociology.
10 a.m. — “Silence = Death” by Holly Hey, professor of film, with Dr. Allyson Day, assistant professor of disability studies.
• 10:30 a.m. — “Banning Pride?! Challenging ‘This Day in June’” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and chair of women’s and gender studies.
• 11 a.m. — “Prison Resistance and the Right to Speak” by Dr. Renee Heberle, professor of political science and co-director of the Program in Law and Social Thought.
• 11:30 a.m. — “Super Hero Women Return to Save the World” by Warren Woodberry, Toledo author and playwright.
• Noon — “Banned in Boston: Lillian Hellman’s ‘The Children’s Hour’” by Holly Monsos, professor of theatre and associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters.
• 1 p.m. — “A Thousand Hands, A Million Stars: Speaking for Those Whose Voices Have Been Rendered Silent Through Human Sex Trafficking” by Jane Atwood, instructor in the Department of Music and University College.
• 1:30 p.m. — “Outrageous T-Shirts — Free Expression or Rudeness?” by Kilmer.
• 2 p.m. — “Google Docs, Social Media and Censorship: How Third-Party Corporations Are Deciding What You Can Study” by Dan McInnis, assistant lecturer in the Jesup Scott Honors College.
• 2:30 p.m. — “Banning Books in Nigeria: Findings From a Study of the Origin, Methods and Motivations” by Dr. Mojisola Tiamiyu, associate professor of psychology.
• 3 p.m. — Banned Books “Jeopardy” hosted by The Independent Collegian.
• 3:30 p.m. — “Why Democracies Need a Free Press” by Ben Morse, editor-in-chief of The Independent Collegian.
4 p.m. — “Don’t Look a Smith Horse in the Mouth,” an episode of “American Dad” that was fined by the Federal Communications Commission.
• 4:30 p.m. — “Woody Guthrie Songs” performance by Risa Cohen, local singer and storyteller.
Kilmer said the Banned Books Vigil would not be possible without the help of generous sponsors on campus and in the community. She gave a special thanks to the Office of the President; the Office of the Provost; the Jesup Scott Honors College; the College of Arts and Letters; the School of Visual and Performing Arts; Communication Department; Athletic Department; Disability Studies Department; Law and Social Thought Program; Inside-Outside Prison Exchange Program; and Phoenicia Cuisine.
For more information about the UToledo Banned Books Vigil, contact Kilmer at email@example.com.