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Public Affairs

Library celebrates Banned Books Week

September 23, 2005

Image of a button that reads "I read banned books."The J. Paul Leonard Library will join libraries across the country in observing Banned Books Week from Sept. 26 to Oct. 5. Bay Area authors and librarians -- including SFSU faculty, students and alumni -- will read passages from so-called provocative and controversial books without the fear of censorship.

"Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose, and the freedom to express one's opinion, even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular," University librarian Deborah Masters said. "It also stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of all viewpoints, to all who wish to read them."

All events are free and will take place in the Faculty Reading Room, in room 426C of the Library. The authors will also be available to help students with their writing projects.

The American Library Association (ALA) has organized the nationwide observance of Banned Books Week annually since 1982 to celebrate Americans' freedom to read. Many bookstores and libraries across the nation participate with displays and readings of books that have been banned or threatened by people or groups throughout history. These include works ranging from the Bible and "Little Red Riding Hood" to John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." According to ALA, the most frequently challenged books of 2004 include Robert Cormier's "The Chocolate War," Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," and Michael A. Bellesiles' "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture."

Authors and librarians confirmed to appear are as follows:

  • Yvonne Daley, associate professor of journalism and author of "Vermont Writers: A State of Mind," noon Sept. 26;
  • Barbara Loomis, associate professor of history, 12:30 p.m. Sept. 26;
  • Morris Bassan, professor emeritus of English and author of "Haight Ashbury Sketches," 2:30 p.m. Sept. 27;
  • Suzy Parker, graduate student and author of "Tumbling After: Pedaling Like Crazy After Life Goes Downhill," 3 p.m. Sept. 27;
  • Dorothy Bryant, alumna and author of "Literary Lynching," 3:30 p.m. Sept. 27;
  • Toni Mirosevich, alumna, associate professor of creative writing and author of "Queer Street," 4 p.m. Sept. 27;
  • Jewelle Gomez, former director of the SFSU Poetry Center and author of "The Gilda Stories," noon Sept. 28;
  • Pamela Howard, biological and health sciences librarian, 1 p.m., Sept. 28;
  • Athena Nazario, education librarian, 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28;
  • James Dalessandro, author of "Bohemian Heart," 11:30 a.m. Oct. 4;
  • Pamela Johnson, alumna and author of "From a Hard Rock to a Gem: A Memoir of a Lost Soul," noon Oct. 4;
  • Alejandro Murguia, associate professor of Raza studies and author of "This War Called Love," 12:30 p.m. Oct. 4;
  • Jeff Rosen, labor archives and social sciences librarian, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 5;
  • Linda Lee Peterson, author of "Edited to Death," 1 p.m. Oct. 5; and
  • Robert Mailer Anderson, author of "Boonville," 1:30 p.m. Oct. 5.

For further details about SFSU's events, visit the Library's Banned Books Web page.

The J. Paul Leonard Library is ranked No. 1 among all California State University campuses in total expenditures for materials and annual growth in books and periodicals added to the collections, as well as No. 2 in total circulation. The Special Collections/Archives Department maintains the San Francisco Bay Area Television News Archives with KQED, KTVU and KPIX historical film footage as its core, along with other rare or unusual materials. It also includes the Frank V. de Bellis Collection of Italic and early Etruscan materials.

-- Matt Itelson


San Francisco State University

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Last modified September 23, 2005 by University Communications