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Join The New York Public Library during Banned Books Week for a discussion about censorship in literature and the pivotal role public libraries play in championing the right to access a range of perspectives and ideas. Plus, discover photographs by Kimberly Butler, whose work explores censorship and banned books through visual media.
This event will take place in person at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library on the 7th Floor.
According to the American Library Association (ALA), between January 1 and August 31 this year, a total of 1,915 unique titles have already been targeted for censorship in 2023. This marks a 20% increase from the same reporting period in 2022, a year which saw the highest number of book challenges on record since ALA began compiling data more than two decades ago.
At this event, photographer Kimberly Butler presents images from her latest collection inspired by banned books. Please note that this presentation contains nudity and other sensitive imagery.
Then, in conversation with WNYC’s Brooke Gladstone will be leaders from all three of New York City’s public library systems: Rosa Caballero-Li (The New York Public Library), Nick Buron (Queens Public Library), and Nick Higgins (Brooklyn Public Library).
See this list below of recommended readings on our topic for this program:
To join the event in-person | Doors will open 30 minutes before the program begins. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form 30 minutes before the program.
Banned Books Week at NYPL | The New York Public Library is dedicated to free and open access to information and knowledge—a mission that is directly opposed to censorship. Join us as we mark this year’s Banned Books Week, October 1–7.
Brooke Gladstone has been host and managing editor of On the Media for all of the 21st century. She’s the recipient of two Peabody Awards, a National Press Club Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, and MAXIMUMFUN.ORG’S Special Citation For Achievements In Being Awesome, among others. Before that she was senior editor of NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon, and also of All Things Considered. After that, she reported from Moscow for three years, moved to New York to inaugurate NPR’s first-ever media beat and then finally settled downtown to re-launch On the Media in October, 2000. She’s the author of The Influencing Machine (W.W. Norton), a treatise on the media in graphic form (listed among the “10 Masterpieces of Graphic Nonfiction” by The Atlantic) and a monograph, The Trouble with Reality (Workman) in 2017. At WNYC’s 2012 Christmas party, she sang “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen,” with her sisters Lisa and Stacey, thus fulfilling all her dreams.
Kimberly Butler has photographed hundreds of celebrities and world leaders including five U.S. presidents. Her credits include covers of New York Times best sellers and gallery shoots for major broadcast networks. She was also a regular contributor to PEOPLE magazine for more than a decade. Butler has traveled extensively in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union as a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker in Jordan, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Chechnya. For the past two decades, she has been the creative force behind the American Library Association’s Celebrity READ poster series, exhibited nationwide in public schools and libraries. Her latest book is “The Art of Fear: A Photographic Memoir”. Butler is a native New Yorker and lives in Manhattan.
Nick Buron is the Chief Librarian for the Queens Library. He oversees all library services for the 66 Queens Library locations, including programming, outreach and collections. He has been with the Queens Library since 1993 when he started as a front line librarian. In 2016, he moved into his current position. Nick has direct and indirect supervision for over 700 employees. He assesses current needs and plans for the future service needs of the community. Nick ensures that day-to-day operations run smoothly, and integrates department goals into the broader strategic directions across departments, such as resource planning, staff training, and materials allocations.
Nick Higgins is the Chief Librarian of Brooklyn Public Library. In concert with other members of the senior management team, Nick leads the development of transformative library services and spaces for the residents of Brooklyn. In his previous role as Director of Outreach Services, Nick and his team created a suite of unique programs for older adults, individuals and families impacted by the justice system, immigrants, and people experiencing homelessness. Nick began his career in 2006 at BPL as a librarian trainee and worked in several branches, the Inclusive Services department, the Business & Career Library, and the Central Library. Nick also served for three years as the NYPL Correctional Library Supervisor, creating library services in the Rikers Island jail complex, and State and Federal Prisons. In 2017 Nick was named “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal for building a citywide library-based video visiting service for kids with parents who were incarcerated. Nick and his team were awarded the prestigious Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal for their work on Books Unbanned, a freedom to read initiative that provides free access to BPL’s entire digital library collection for teens anywhere in the US facing book bans. Nick received an MLIS from the Pratt Institute and a BA in British Literature from Hunter College.
Rosa Caballero-Li is the Director of BookOps, an award-winning shared technical services team responsible for managing the collection and distribution needs of The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. Throughout her 16-year career at The New York Public Library, Caballero-Li has held various positions that have assisted library users across the City. She has developed a unique perspective on how library users access our circulating and research collections and has advocated for enhanced collections discoverability and access, seeking opportunities that increase equity and access for the communities each library serves.
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All programs are subject to change or cancellation.
The 7 Stories Up Series at SNFL is made possible by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).
Banned Books Week is an annual event that highlights the value of free and open access to information. The event is supported by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, including American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Authors Guild, Banned Books Week Sweden, Children’s Book Council, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), Freedom to Read Foundation, GLAAD, Index on Censorship, Little Free Library, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People For the American Way Foundation, PFLAG, and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from HarperCollins Publishers and Penguin Random House.
©2023 Banned Books Week