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University Libraries celebrates Banned Books Week

September 29th, 2009

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Jamie Saunders reads from “Charlotte’s Web”.

Jamie Saunders sat on a stool on the east entrance of Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville, reading aloud from the fourth chapter of “Charlotte’s Web,” by E.B.White, the classic children’s novel about a spider who befriends a pig.

Students passed in and out of the library, smiling briefly when they heard the names of familiar characters of their childhood.

Saunders, who works in library technologies, is one of more than 30 students, faculty and staff who volunteered to participate in the library’s Banned Book Week read-in. The event, which started Monday and continues through Wednesday, encourages participants to read selections from books that have been challenged or banned. Readings will take place Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

University Libraries celebrates American Library Association Banned Book Week each year, said Latisha Reynolds, a reference librarian who helped coordinate the event.

“The main reason to do this is to make sure that people are aware that censorship is still happening and organizations are still out there trying to remove books from schools and different places,” Reynolds said.

There was a lot of interest in this years’ event, she said. About 35 people from across the university volunteered to read aloud to passersby.

Saunders read two chapters from “Charlotte’s Web” as she tightly clutched a Wilbur stuffed animal.

“I was really surprised to see it on the list,” she said after she finished her reading. Prior to the read-in, she looked up just why White’s classic children’s book was challenged. She said she found that the controversy was around chapters in which the animals speak to one another.

“I think it’s important to participate in this. I think a lot of people would be surprised at what’s being challenged,” she said, as someone in the background read from “The Origin of Species,” by Charles Darwin.

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