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NC State Celebrates Our Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week

David Hiscoe, NCSU Libraries,  (919) 513-3425

(Raleigh, N.C.)—To salute the bedrock American freedom to read what we choose, the North Carolina State University Libraries today released “Banned Books SoundWave”—a website filled with selections from banned books read by a broad spectrum of members of the university community.  The site is being launched in conjunction with the American Library Association’s (ALA) traditional “Banned Books Week,” an annual event celebrating the open access to information and the importance of the First Amendment in our society.

Running the last week in September, the ALA program is designed to remind us all of the benefits of intellectual freedom and to highlight the dangers of censorship by spotlighting the history of actual or attempted book bannings across the United States.  To support this nationwide celebration of the free access to information, the NCSU Libraries has recorded a range of campus champions reading from books that have been suppressed in the sometimes troubled history of protecting the fundamental right to read what we please.

On the “Banned Books SoundWave” site, you can hear Chancellor Randy Woodson read from The Grapes of Wrath, baseball coach Elliott Avent from Gone with the Wind, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Jeffery Braden from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Dean Dan Solomon from Go Tell It on the Mountain, as well as over a dozen students, faculty, and staff reading their choices from the often surprising titles that have been challenged or actually kept from the public.  The website also gives a brief synopsis of why works on this long list have been challenged or banne

“Librarians are especially aware and vigilant of our role in defending the public’s right to open and free access to information,” says Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries.  “While an unfortunate number of books have actually been banned for a time, our profession is proud that we, along with book sellers, teachers, and other members of the community, have kept so many others freely available for people to make up their own minds about.”

The NC State University Chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists will also be reading a selection of banned books Monday, September 27, and Wednesday, September 29, on the campus Brickyard and well as sponsoring an exhibit of suppressed books in the D. H. Hill Library on the NC State campus. Marian Fragola, Director of Program Planning and Outreach for the NCSU Libraries, will also discuss Banned Books Week and the “Banned Books SoundWave” project with Damian Maddalena of NC State’s WKNC on Saturday morning from 8-10 am on 88.1 FM in Raleigh, NC.

“Banned Books SoundWave” is available at http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/events/bannedbooks.

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