UB Libraries presents Banned Books Week events beginning Sept. 19

Release Date: September 15, 2022

“By providing access to materials that represent diverse points of view, libraries encourage imagination, foster creativity, and build a sense of community. ”
Kathleen Quinlivan, communications officer
University Libraries

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo Libraries will hold a series of free book talks and film presentations from Sept. 19-24 as part of Banned Books Week, the American Library Association’s annual campaign celebrating open access to information and the freedom to read.

Since 1982, Banned Books Week has called national attention to the dangers of censorship. This year’s theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

“Libraries are essential advocates for intellectual freedom. By providing access to materials that represent diverse points of view, libraries encourage imagination, foster creativity, and build a sense of community,” says Kathleen Quinlivan, University Libraries communications officer.

Book banning is as old as publishing. Titles ranging from “New English Canaan,” Thomas Morton’s 1637 critique of Puritan values, to Dav Pilkey’s children’s book “Captain Underpants” have landed on banned book lists.

But book banning is not exclusively a matter of history. It’s a growing contemporary problem, and the issues and concerns of suppressing access, limiting free expression, and stifling possible conversations that arise when individuals or other organizations attempt to or successfully remove books from stacks, stores or schools are directly confronted by the efforts inspired by Banned Books Week.

Libraries, schools and universities last year reported more than 700 calls to ban or remove books from their curriculums and stacks, according to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. That figure represents more titles than in 2020.

“I’m sure there are a variety of factors that can be attributed to that increase, but the numbers are clearly saying that this form of censorship is an ongoing problem,” says Quinlivan. “Raising awareness to these challenges is a critical first step so that people know what’s happening.”

All of the University Libraries events during Banned Books Week are free and open to the public:

  • Sept. 19, 5 p.m. in Room 310 of the Silverman Library, University Libraries Assistant Librarian Joe Patton will introduce a screening of “Fahrenheit 451,” director Ramin Bahrani’s 2018 film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel about a society that has outlawed books and seeks to destroy any that remain.
  • Sept. 20, 1 p.m. in Room 310 of the Silverman Library, Joseph Valente, PhD, UB Distinguished Professor of English, will host a book discussion on “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” “The novel is the most sophisticated experiment in literary form I have yet encountered in a piece of young adult fiction, which is not typically known for the nuanced complexity of its architecture,” says Valente.
  • Sept 21, 5 p.m. in Room 305 of the Silverman Library, Valente continues the discussion of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by introducing a 2012 film version of the novel directed by Stephen Chbosky.
  • Sept. 22,  3 p.m. in Room 310 of the Silverman Library, there will be a panel discussion and conversation exploring the year’s theme with Laura Taddeo, head of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences team in University Libraries; Damien Keane, PhD, associate professor of English; and Kristi Dougherty, manager of children’s services and outreach, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

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