Banned books display celebrates freedom to read

By Leslie King | Emory Report | Oct. 3, 2012

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A few of the titles on display for Banned Books Week at the Woodruff Library. Graphic by Erica Ervin.

Emory is participating in Banned Books Week, the American Library Association's (ALA) annual celebration of the freedom to read, with a display derived from books held in the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Books Library (MARBL).

Archivists, librarians, and graduate student assistants from across the library have collaborated to create "BANNED: Creating the Freedom to Read," a display of reproduced covers of books that have been considered controversial or taboo.  

"BANNED" is on view on Level 2 of the Woodruff Library through Oct. 31.

Everything in "BANNED" can be found in MARBL's collections. Library staff members have written captions that tell why the book was banned or challenged, and also describe the provenance, inscriptions and other features that are unique to MARBL's copy of the book.

Kate Donovan, the university archivist who spearheaded the exhibition, quotes the ALA's bill of rights that it is incumbent upon all libraries "to challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment."

"As part of its commitment to free academic discourse and the free circulation of ideas, the Emory Libraries collects a wide range of materials to advance the 'discovery and transmission of knowledge for students and scholars of today and tomorrow'," Donovan says.

Staffers who participated in creating the exhibition include John Bence, Erica Bruchko, Tim Bryson, Elizabeth Chase, Amy Hildreth Chen, Kim Collins, Agnieszka Czeblakow, Julie Delliquanti, Gabrielle Dudley, Kim Durante, David Faulds, Christeene Fraser, Michael Hessel-Mial, Sara Logue, Will Love, Lisa Macklin, Sarah Quigley, Alain St. Pierre, Kate Stratton and Dorothy Waugh.