President’s Column for Traill County Tribune

September 16, 2017

 Join us in recognizing Banned Books Week


In recognition of Banned Books Week, September 24-30, Mayville State University’s Byrnes-Quanbeck Library and Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host guest faculty member, Dr. Emily Knox, assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Knox will be on campus Friday, Sept. 29.

Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. It is a project of the Banned Books Week Coalition, a national 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. This year’s celebration features the importance of the First Amendment, which guarantees our inherent right to read.

Hundreds of books have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 311 in 2014. ALA estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported.

Dr. Emily Knox recently edited Trigger Warnings: History, Theory Context, published by Rowman & Littlefield. Emily’s book, Book Banning in 21st Century America, was also published by Rowman & Littlefield and is the first monograph in the Beta Phi Mu Scholars’ Series. Dr. Knox serves on the boards of the Freedom to Read Foundation and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Several of the sessions with Dr. Knox at Mayville State are open to the public. Her speaking events and discussions will focus on censorship, the right to read, banned and challenged books, and academic freedom.

Dr. Knox’s keynote address, “Censorship and the Power of Reading,” will take place in the MSU Classroom Building Auditorium, from 10 to 10:50 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 29. A discussion titled “Banned and Challenged Books in Our Schools and Libraries” will take place in Education Building Room 114 from 1 to 1:50 p.m. These sessions are open to all.

Everyone is also welcome to participate in and/or listen in during the Banned Book Read-Out, scheduled for 2 to 2:50 p.m. Sept. 29 in the Quiet Room of the Byrnes-Quanbeck Library. Bring your own banned or challenged book, or choose one from the library and read your favorite excerpt.

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs, a continuous reading of banned/challenged books, as part of their activities. Now for the seventh year, readers from around the world can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out by creating videos proclaiming the virtues of the freedom to read that will be featured on a dedicated YouTube channel.

For more information about Banned Books Week and submitting a video for the virtual read-out, go to Contact MSU librarian Aubrey Madler at for more information about Mayville State’s activities planned in conjunction with Banned Books Week.

It is our privilege to offer opportunities such as these to our students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members. We thank the staff of the Byrnes-Quanbeck Library and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for their work in brining Dr. Knox to Mayville State. I encourage you to take part as we broaden our horizons together.