Support freedom of expression, right to read

September 29, 2009 | Events
By Vicki L. Kroll

banned-books-art“Read, Know, Speak” is the theme of the 12th annual Banned Books Week Vigil, which will take place Thursday, Oct. 1, on UT’s Main Campus.

UT faculty members and students, as well as librarians and authors, will give short presentations from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the second floor of Sullivan Hall.

“The battle for the First Amendment is never won,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication and one of the organizers of the event. “Every fall, we join with libraries, educational places and civic centers across the nation to recognize the role of reading and thinking freely in our democratic society where everyone matters and knowledge is often the key to making a difference.”

Kilmer and event committee members Dr. Linda Smith, UT senior lecturer in the Honors Program, Brian Hickam, UT assistant professor of library administration, and Elaine Reeves, UT lecturer and information literacy librarian, have met off and on for the past year to coordinate the event.

In the fourth week of September for more than two decades, the American Library Association, the Book Sellers of America and hundreds of other sponsors of Banned Books Week have inspired citizens across the nation to plan events celebrating intellectual freedom.

During UT’s event, banned books, T-shirts, mugs, coupons and other items will be given as door prizes throughout the day.

Topics and speakers for the vigil will be:

• 9 a.m. — “Speech, Reading and the Banning of Thoughts” by Dr. Jim Benjamin, UT professor and chair of communication, after greetings from Dr. Marcia Suter, UT associate professor and director of library services;

• 9:30 a.m. — “Radical Islamists and Fear of Radical Islamists — Both Are Significant Threats to Free Speech” by Dr. Douglas Oliver, UT associate professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering;

• 10 a.m. — “When Censorship Goes Soft: The Case of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the Publication of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Dr. Larry D. Connin, UT administrative coordinator for the Honors Program;

• 10:30 a.m. — “We Are Strangers” by Warren Woodbury, Toledo author;

• 11 a.m. — “1984: From Orwell to Amazon” by Dr. Paul Many, UT professor of communication;

• 11:30 a.m. — “The Book Corner TV Show,” a performance by Dr. K and the IC Players — Kilmer and Independent Collegian Editor in Chief Joe Griffith, Sports Editor Zach Davis, Assistant Sports Editor Michael Bauman and Staff Writer Jason Mack;

• Noon — keynote address, “Book Burning in Nazi Germany,” by Dr. Larry Wilcox, UT professor emeritus of history;

• 1 p.m. — “Censorship, Dissent and Etiquette” by Dr. Ben Pryor, UT associate professor and chair of philosophy;

• 1:30 p.m. — “Remembering Judith Krug: Librarian and Founder of Banned Books Week” by Reeves;

• 2 p.m. — “Indecency in Broadcasting: Why Bother?” by Dr. David Tucker, UT associate professor of communication;

• 2:30 p.m. — “The Politics of Bad Ideas” by Dr. Carter Wilson, UT professor of political science;

• 3 p.m. — “Jeopardy!” with Hickam and Reeves;

• 3:30 p.m. — “Censoring Bob Dylan in the Sixties” by Dr. Tom Barden, UT professor of English and director of the Honors Program;

• 4 p.m. — “Feminism Does Not Equal Censorship: Toward a Feminist Politics of Representation” by Dr. Renee Heberle, UT associate professor of political science;

• 4:30 p.m. — “Homosexuality in Children’s Books” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, UT associate professor of interdisciplinary studies; and

• 5 p.m. — Poetry reading by Dr. Glen Sheldon, UT associate professor of interdisciplinary studies, who will read “The Story of Giles Corey,” an original poem he penned for the vigil.

Benefactors of the free, public event are the Society of Professional Journalists, the University Honors Program, The Independent Collegian, University Libraries, UT Department of Communication, UT English Department, and the UT Theatre and Film Department.

Sponsors who contributed door prizes and food include Barry Bagels, Curb’s Candle Co., Dunkin’ Doughnuts, Glacity Theatre Collective, People Called Women, Rite Aid Pharmacy at Westgate, Toledo Free Press, UT Bookstore, UT Business Technology, UT Career Services, UT-MUO Federal Credit Union, UT Starbucks, and UT Theatre and Film Department.

For more information on the free, public event, contact Kilmer at 419.530.4672 or

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