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DO NOT READ….Words Have Power!

book challenges

DO NOT READ....Words Have Power!

Banned Books Week (September 24-30) is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. Rod Library celebrates the freedom to read, an important component of academic freedom, most notably through its thoughtful development of diverse library collections.

Books may receive scrutiny because they include LGBT* characters, are deemed “sexually explicit,” and/or deal with themes of depression or suicide. In 2016, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded 323 challenges to books.

Rod Library invites you to participate in Banned Books Week by visiting the display on the main floor Learning Commons and by taking some time to consider how libraries’ commitment to literacy and the freedom to read impacts your own life. Follow us on Twitter this week to find out other ways you can participate in this week’s activities.

Taking it a step further

Banned Books Week isn’t just about recognizing books that have been challenged or removed from schools or libraries, it is also about considering our individual roles in these types of debates.

Even though a university library isn’t where you are likely to find your freedom to read or access to information compromised, it is the perfect place to learn about related scenarios that you might encounter outside of the university. Consider your potential role - as a teacher, parent, or caregiver - in defending a book in a library or school.

In association with Banned Books Week, Katelyn Browne, Youth Services Librarian at Rod Library, visits Children’s Literature and other Education classes to lead discussions about book challenges and other related issues that future educators are likely to encounter.

Katelyn Browne

 “Book challenges can often spark interesting and important conversations about the purpose of particular books in our libraries and classrooms. As educators, however, we have the opportunity to start those conversations long before challenges arise: why do we teach what we teach? How can we preserve students’ and teachers’ intellectual freedom while listening to the concerns of families and community members?”

Katelyn remains a resource for educators even after they graduate from UNI. She serves as a statewide expert for teachers and librarians who are facing a challenge or are having trouble deciding on a book’s appropriate placement in a library or curriculum.

Students, Educators, librarians, and community members with questions about book challenges are welcome to contact Katelyn Browne at

Top ten banned books of 2016

Find them at Rod Library!

This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

George written by Alex Gino

I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan

Looking for Alaska written by John Green

Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell

More Information about Banned Book Week

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