The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County’s Banned Books Week co-chair, Alyssa Gómez Lawrence, will lead panelists Lee Chambers, Jeff Gottke, Lois Hanson, and David H. Lynn for a lively discussion of Mount Vernon & Knox County’s communal read, Maus, by Art Spiegelman. This incredibly powerful tale of survival is a contemporary classic and essential text documenting the Holocaust.
Complimentary copies of Maus are available at the Main Library (201 North Mulberry Street, Mount Vernon, OH) and the Kenyon College Bookstore (106 Gaskin Avenue, Gambier, OH) beginning September 19th, and continuing while supplies last.
Alyssa Gómez Lawrence (Panel Moderator) is the Assistant Director for the Community Engaged Learning and Internships at Kenyon College’s Office for Community Partnerships. Alyssa’s lifelong passion for literature gives her a unique perspective on civil discourse and literary advocacy. She is excited to further support and promote opportunities for community members to engage in debate, participate in advocacy initiatives, and learn together through literary-themed workshops and conversations.
John K. Chidester has served as director of the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County since 1976. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Heidelberg University and a Master’s degree in Library Science from Case Western Reserve University. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force and the Ohio Air National Guard, and he is a former president of the Mount Vernon Kiwanis Club.
David Lynn was a Professor of English at Kenyon College from 1988 to 2023 and Editor of the Kenyon Review from 1994 to 2020. Winner of an O. Henry Award, he has a new book appearing in 2024: REBUILDING THE GOAT WALK: AN ECO-MEMOIR.
Jeff Gottke is President of the Knox County Area Development Foundation. He is in his third year of service on the local Board of Elections, and current Board Chair. Jeff also serves on the Central and Executive Committees for the Knox County Republican Party, and is active in local civic affairs, including Mount Vernon City Council. A U.S. Army Veteran and former high school Social Studies teacher, Jeff holds a Masters Degree in American History and Government from Ashland University.
Lois Hanson is from Wheeling, West Virginia. She graduated from West Virginia University with a BA in education and earned her Masters in Education from Ohio State. She taught Language Arts and Social Studies in West Virginia and Ohio for 30 years before “retiring” to work at Paragraphs Bookstore as a Book Seller, then Manager. After 17 years at Paragraphs, Lois now works there once a week, “So I can talk about books with dear customers.” She is the author of Our Worthy Townsmen, a book she researched and wrote about 19th-century Jewish families in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Dr. Lee Chambers is a musicologist, singer, and university administrator working at the intersection of aesthetics, phenomenology, and global history. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Texas Tech, an MA in music from Ball State, and BA in vocal performance from Olivet Nazarene University. Lee has taught, consulted, and performed for universities and arts organizations on four continents and currently directs the Center for Student Success at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, where he also teaches history and maintains an active voice studio.