Banned Books Week: UMD and public libraries band together

Illustration by Rebecca Kottke

Illustration by Rebecca Kottke

On Sept. 24, 2018, the Kathryn A. Martin Library will host their annual Banned Books Week Open House from 11 a.m. through 1 p.m. on the first floor of the library.

“I always like talking to people about books,” Education and Human Service Professions Librarian for the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Kayleen Jones, said. “I get excited to talk to readers, especially people who don’t necessarily consider themselves readers.”

Education and Human Service Professions Librarian for the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Kayleen Jones, at the library on Sept. 21, 2018. Jones is excited to “combine our powers” with the Duluth Public Library for UMD’s Banned Books Week Open House on Sept. 24, 2018. Photo by Brianna Taggart

Education and Human Service Professions Librarian for the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Kayleen Jones, at the library on Sept. 21, 2018. Jones is excited to “combine our powers” with the Duluth Public Library for UMD’s Banned Books Week Open House on Sept. 24, 2018. Photo by Brianna Taggart

This free, informal event co-sponsored with the Duluth Public Library will have free buttons, snacks, librarians to answer questions, and a display case showcasing books that have been frequently banned or challenged in other schools and libraries.

To help bring awareness to the event and add more books to their display case, the library on campus partnered with the Duluth Public Library.

Jessica Korpi, librarian from the Duluth Public Library, has been working with UMD for the event and will be there on Sept. 24 to help promote accessibility to books.

“I am doing this for the acknowledgement and celebration that we have this right,” Korpi said. “It’s a nice way to work together [with UMD] to celebrate this.”

Jones agrees that these two libraries joining forces is a good thing.

“We get to combine our powers,” Jones said.

Banned Books Week is a national, annual event. According to the Banned Books Week website, “[It] brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

The Banned Books display case in the Kathryn A. Martin Library on Sept. 21, 2018. This display case is up for the entire month of September showcasing some of the many frequently banned and challenged books in libraries and schools. Photo by Brianna Taggart

The Banned Books display case in the Kathryn A. Martin Library on Sept. 21, 2018. This display case is up for the entire month of September showcasing some of the many frequently banned and challenged books in libraries and schools. Photo by Brianna Taggart

That is one of the many reasons why Jones likes this week so much.

“This is about highlighting access to reading and books even if it’s not something people actually agree with,” Jones said. “I think it’s an interesting thing that people don’t think about: those decisions to make things available.”

To help bring attention to Banned Books Week, the Kathryn A. Martin Library has had a display for banned books on the first floor of the library for the entire month of September.

“The whole Banned Books Week [which has been around since 1982] came about, because there were was pattern of people going into bookstores saying ‘this book shouldn’t be available for this reason and this reason,’ and they were hoping books would be removed from the shelves, removing access,” Jones said.

This is the only event the Kathryn A. Martin Library is doing for Banned Books Week, according to Jones.

However, the Duluth Public Library will have a pop-up event in their main lobby on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. that will feature a display case of their own of frequently banned and challenged books.

Banned Books Week 2018 takes place on Sept. 23-29.

CultureBrianna Taggart