September 24, 2009

Events planned in honor of Banned Books Week

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two events involving Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library next week will mark the annual observance of Banned Books Week.

This is the 28th American Library Association celebration of the freedom to read. Morris Library is hosting a campus discussion about that very freedom Oct. 1 in the library auditorium. Megan Lotts, fine arts librarian, will discuss censorship and banned books with her University 101 class from 12:35 to 1:50 p.m.

Ralph McCoy, longtime director of SIU’s libraries from the 1950s to the 1970s, had a particular interest in freedom of the press and First Amendment rights. Morris Library’s Ralph McCoy Freedom of the Press Collection is a compilation of items that have at one time or another faced challenge.

You can also hear excerpts from a variety of “challenged” materials at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 1, at Longbranch Coffeehouse in Carbondale. Morris Library faculty and staff will be reading selections from books as diverse as “King Lear,” “The Age of Reason” and “The Lord of the Rings.” There will be free cookies and coffee for those attending.

For more information about either of these activities, or participating, contact Melissa Hubbard, Morris Library’s rare book librarian, via e-mail at or by calling 618/453-3269.

Learn more about banned books and the Sept. 26-Oct. 3 Banned Books Week online at