Q: Last year, I attended the Banned Book Readout event during Banned Books Week. Will there be a similar event this year?
A: The Banned Book Readout is just one of the events the Victoria College/University of Houston-Victoria Library plans to host during Banned Books Week.
Banned Books Week will be Sept. 23-29. The library has observed Banned Books Week for many years, and this year it will offer events for community members and students.
The week is a national observance of the right to read and share ideas, even if those ideas are considered controversial. It was launched in the early 1980s after the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court case Island Trees School District v. Pico, which ruled school officials cannot ban books from libraries solely based on the books’ content.
The first event of Banned Books Week will be Caught Reading a Banned Book. The library will have a table set up in Jaguar Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 25 so VC and UHV students can take their picture holding or reading from a banned or challenged book. The pictures can be posted on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #bannedbooksweek2018, #rebelreader, #ireadbannedbooks and #imwiththebanned.
Sept. 27, the VC/UHV Library will hold the Banned Book Readout from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The keynote speaker for the readout will be Anthony Madrid, UHV assistant professor of English and creative writing and director of the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program.
After Madrid’s presentation, members of the VC and UHV faculty and staff will read from selections of banned books. UHV President Bob Glenn plans to read from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was one of the Top 10 most banned or challenged books in 2017. In previous years, participants have read excerpts from books including the Harry Potter series, “The Hunger Games,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Catch 22” and “1984.”
In addition to the readings, many library staff members attend the event in costume as characters from banned or challenged books. Some of the costumes from previous years have included Tom Sawyer from Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” The Little Mermaid, Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games series, a Handmaid and a member of the state police from “The Handmaid’s Tale” and a Hogwarts student from the Harry Potter series. Community members also are welcome to dress up as literary characters.
In addition to these events, the library will partner with UHV Student Life to host a Banned Books Week Movie at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 in Jaguar Hall for VC and UHV students. There will be a screening of “The Hunger Games” and refreshments including pizza and popcorn.
Banned Book Week is an important reminder that freedom of expression continues to be challenged, and we hope you will take the time to observe this time with us by attending the readout or simply by reading a banned or challenged book. A list of frequently challenged books is available through the American Library Association. To learn more about Banned Books Week activities, contact Jaena Manson, instruction and outreach librarian, at 361-570-4176 or email@example.com.