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KU Libraries partner for Banned Book Week event

Monday, September 19, 2016

KU Libraries are partnering with Dr. Steven Case, associate professor and director of the Center for STEM Learning at KU, for the 2016 Banned Book Week. Banned Book Week, hosted from September 25-October 1, celebrates the freedom to read and learn without fear of censorship.

Case will host a lecture from 7-8 p.m. titled “Annie is Still on My Mind: Lessons on censoring critical thinking” on Thursday, September 29 in the Regnier Hall Auditorium on the KU Edwards Campus. A brief question and answer session will follow the lecture.

Case has experience with public censorship of books. While working as a teacher in a local school district in 1993, the district superintendent announced the removal of “Annie on my Mind,” a coming of age novel for young adults, from the school libraries. A group of plaintiffs, including students, parents and a teacher, supported by the ACLU and a local law firm, Shook, Hardy and Bacon, sued the district, the superintendent and the Principal of one of the High Schools.

“We were successful,” explained Case. “However, despite that success, many of the difficult lessons we learned are still relevant today. I’ve spent my entire career in education, and I am committed to advocating for accessible books, the facilitation of critical thinking and fighting censorship of literature and learning.”

In his lecture, Case will discuss the lawsuit and its continued relevance in today’s educational environment. The event is free and open to the public.

“By sharing what we learned some 20 years ago, I am confident that others will become educated about the damage of banning books and supporting censorship of creative works,” said Case. 

“Intellectual freedom – the unfettered ability for each person to receive the information they need and to engage critically with that information – is a core value for libraries,” said Kevin L. Smith, dean of KU Libraries. “Without it, our work would always be subject to arbitrary and capricious interference from many directions, and democracy would suffer. The struggle exemplified by Dr. Case and many other courageous individuals is therefore vital to both libraries and to citizenship itself.”

For more information and resources on Banned Book Week, visit the American Library Associate website

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