This year, Montana State University Library is celebrating Banned Books Week with a banned and challenged books giveaway. Students are invited to stop by the library to get a free book and talk with librarians about the ways books unite us and censorship divides us. Students can also write a postcard to their favorite banned books author.
The library also has a Banned Books display up through the end of September.
How would you handle an attempt to censor books in your library? In this program, we’ll use ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios as discussion prompts to provide practical strategies and resources that librarians can use to inform their defense of challenged materials. The conversation will be lead by librarians from a variety of backgrounds: Moni Barrette (President, Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table, American Library Association), Jamie Gregory (Upper School Librarian, Christ Church Episcopal School), Val Nye (Library Director, Santa Fe Community College), and Jack Phoenix (Manager of Collection Development and Technical Services at Cuyahoga Falls Library and Brodart’s Graphic Novel Selector).
Moni Barrette is a 16-year public librarian who expanded her expertise in libraries, comics, and relationship building through her role at LibraryPass as the Director of Content Management and Publisher Relations, where her interest in teaching grew. As co-founder of the nonprofit Creators Assemble and President of the American Library Association’s Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table, and adjunct lecturer at SDSU, she became dedicated to promoting learning through the use of comics and popular culture. Moni attends comic conventions, hosts industry networking events, and helps librarians and educators implement comics into their learning spaces.
Jamie Gregory is in her 18th year working as a high school educator, having spent her first 8 years as a high school English teacher and ten years as a high school librarian. She has been blogging for the Office for Intellectual Freedom since January 2019 and currently writes censorship articles for School Library Journal. She is the 2022 South Carolina School Librarian of the Year as well as the 2022 recipient of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table’s Eli M. Oboler Award for intellectual freedom writing.
Valerie Nye is the Library Director at Santa Fe Community College and has worked in libraries for over 25 years. She has edited two books that share stories of librarians confronting intellectual freedom challenges, True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries (ALA, 2012) and Intellectual Freedom Stories: From A Shifting Landscape (ALA, 2020). Working on these books has allowed her to connect with librarians around the world and share stories and information about some of librarianship’s deepest held values, intellectual freedom and social justice. She currently serves as a Member on the Amigos Library Services board and as Past-President of the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries. Valerie holds an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jack Phoenix is a ravenous reader with a burning love for pop culture and balloon twisting, He writes about comics, libraries, and comics in libraries, and is the recipient of two master’s degrees, one in Library and Information Science from Kent State University and the other in English from Ohio Dominican University. He now works as a manager for a public library in Greater Cleveland, where he lives with his husband, three dogs, and pet rats.
Who’s afraid of comic books? Book bans across Missouri and the U.S. have often targeted graphic novels and comic books, especially those that depict issues of gender, sexuality and race. New Missouri laws will punish educators and school librarians who provide restricted materials to students with fines and jail time. This event considers banned comic books from the perspectives of the artists who create them and the advocates who defend them. Panel lineup includes:
Jerry Craft, New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of the graphic novels New Kid and Class Act.New Kid is the only book in history to win the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature (2020), the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2019), and the Coretta Scott King Author Award for the most outstanding work by an African American writer (2020).
Molly Carney, ACLU MO. Carney joined the ACLU of Missouri as a Staff Attorney in 2020. As a member of the legal team, she engages in all aspects of strategic litigation efforts to protect civil rights and liberties, including her current work on litigation and advocacy against book bans across Missouri.
Phoebe Gloeckner, graphic novelist. Gloeckner’s book The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2002) was praised as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender, beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.”
Censorship continues a record-breaking sweep across our nation in the form of book bans, removal of literacy materials from school libraries, and the limitation on educators’ speech in the classroom. Teachers, parents, and citizens often feel hopeless when seeking ways to combat censorship, but there are some novel approaches recently taken by libraries, associations, and educators that support a student’s right to read.
Join us for “This Story Matters,” an in-person event on Tuesday, September 20, at 5:30 p.m. to hear about these approaches, ask questions about censorship efforts and the challenges facing educators today, and learn how you can support the fight for intellectual freedom.
About NCTE and the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center
The National Council of Teachers of English is the nation’s oldest organization of pre-K through graduate school literacy educators. NCTE applies the power of language and literacy to actively pursue justice and equity for all students and the educators who serve them, and it offers guidance, tools, and other resources to support teachers facing classroom censorship challenges through its Intellectual Freedom Center.
LaMar Timmons-Long is a vibrant educator who believes that every student deserves access to an equitable and transformative educational experience. His main work centers around ethnic studies, racial linguistics, anti-racist education, intersections between literacy, social justice, and language, as well as students experiencing disabilities. LaMar teaches English in New York City and holds a Master of Education in Special Education. He is also a professor at Pace University in the School of Education.
Leigh Hurwitz is Coordinator of School Outreach Services at Brooklyn Public Library. Leigh is also currently involved in BPL’s Books Unbanned initiative, a response to the tactical surge in book bans and censorship across the country, disproportionately affecting teens. Leigh’s other professional areas of interest include comics, inclusive and affirming gender and sexuality education for all ages, and fostering connections between library collections and programming.
In schools & libraries around the country, extremists are attempting to ban books & trample students’ First Amendment right to read. In a discussion designed to educate, aggravate, & activate, Martha will deliver the latest news on censorship, share the strategies she used to fight back here in NJ, & provide you with tips & tools to keep free people reading freely.
As the extraordinary Martha sez her own self, “Defending the right to read is not a one-person job. The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice with its commitment to diverse voices & safe spaces is the perfect ally for libraries & by partnering with the Center we will fight the Ed Scare affecting our schools, libraries, & the greater community.”
Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice HQ
12 Stockton St.
Princeton, NJ 08540
If you find this program & the work we do meaningful & believe in the mission & vision of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, please consider donatin’ whatever is within your means & within your hearts to help us continue to build this extraordinary new home our community needs & deserves. It’s hard to be a safe-space without a space… paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/3348328
Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom at 1:00 p.m. CDT, September 30, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with acclaimed and award-winning author Alex Gino! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the Banned Books Week Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/).
Gino’s award-winning middle grade novel George led ALA OIF’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books lists for 2019 and 2018, and it also appeared on the lists for 2017 and 2016. The book has been challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy, for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character, for sexual references, and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint.
Over the course of the hour, we’ll converse about the censorship of Gino’s work and LGBTQIA+ materials and events, examine the importance of identity and representation in literature, and give you a chance to ask your questions during a short Q&A. The event will be moderated by Peter Coyl (he / him; Director, Montclair Public Library) and Betsy Gomez (she / her; Coordinator, Banned Books Week Coalition).
Alex Gino is author of middle grade novels Rick,You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! and the Stonewall Award-winning George. They love glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. Born and raised on Staten Island, NY, they now enjoy living in Oakland, CA.
4 starred reviews: Booklist, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal
Winner of: Lambda Literary Award, Stonewall Award (American Library Association), Children’s Choice Book Awards Debut Author, Juvenile California Book Award
BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all. GEORGE is a candid, genuine, and heartwarming middle grade about a transgender girl who is, to use Charlotte’s word, R-A-D-I-A-N-T!
Rick (Scholastic, 2020)
4 starred reviews: Booklist, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal
The story of a kid named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend.
Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.
But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that … understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.
As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world … and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be.
About ALA OIF
Established December 1, 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.
The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.
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.