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‘Banned Books Week’ Activities Include Panel Discussion, Read-Out

banned book shelvesSUNY Plattsburgh’s Institute for Ethics in Public Life, along with the Redcay Honors Center and Feinberg Library, will kick off “Banned Books Week” with the panel discussion, “Book Bans in School and Public Libraries,” Monday, Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the Alumni Conference Room, Angell College Center.

Daniel Lake, associate professor and chair of political science and director of the institute said how in recent years “there has been a significant increase in efforts to ban books from school libraries and public libraries across the United States.”

“The bans, and attempted bans, are based on the argument that the books contain ideas harmful to young people and/or society at large,” he said. “The books at issue tend to deal with issues of race, gender, or sexuality, and are criticized as examples of ‘woke’ culture or because they are blamed for young people expressing their sexuality in ways that some find unacceptable.”

Members of the panel will critically examine this wave of book bans and consider the impact of banning these books on both the young people who use these libraries and on the libraries themselves.

Panel members are:

  • Joshua Beatty, interim director of Feinberg Library
  • Ben Carman, librarian at the Plattsburgh Public Library
  • Preeti Samudra, assistant professor, psychology
  • Yong Yu, associate professor, education

Lake will moderate.

stairwellIn addition to the panel discussion, the library will host its annual “Banned Books Read-Out” Wednesday, Oct. 4 from noon to 3 p.m. in the second-floor stairway of Feinberg.

Readers include students from the Literature Club and Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society. Members of the public are invited to participate by reading a short selection from a banned or challenged book.

The American Library Association’s top 13 most challenged books of 2022 are:

  • “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe
  • “All Boys aren’t Blue,” by George M. Johnson
  • “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison
  • “Flamer,” by Mike Curato
  • “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green
  • “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
  • “Lawn Boy,” By Jonathan Evison
  • “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie
  • “Out of Darkness,” by Ashley Hope Perez
  • “A Court of Mist and Fury,” by Sarah J. Maas
  • “Crank,” by Ellen Hopkins
  • “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” by Jesse Andrews
  • “This Book is Gay,” by Juno Dawson

A comprehensive list of books that have been banned or challenged in the United States can be found here and are available to borrow from the featured books shelf on the second floor of Feinberg Library.

For more information on the panel discussion, , “Book Bans in School and Public Libraries,” contact Lake at 518-564-5830 or email [email protected]. For more information on “Banned Books Read-Out,” contact Beatty at 518-564-5200 or email [email protected].

— Story, Photos by Associate Director of Communications Gerianne Downs

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