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Will Cowley

Library highlights first amendment rights

The Axe Library hosted “Banned Books Week,” an annual event that usually take place at the end of September. 

Libraries across the nation put on “Banned Books Weeks” to highlight the freedom of reading and the awareness of the first amendment.  Every year “Banned Books Week” offers three free workshops for students, staff, faculty and the Pittsburg community.  

“This event is covering a wide range of several censorships and available information and assets that people can use to fight it.” Jorge Leon, learning and outreach librarian, said.  

“Banned Books are a conversation of books that people attempted to ban or attempt to challenge and even do so today. Materials that people will object to and instead of saying, ‘I don’t want my kid to read this,’ they say, ‘I don’t want anybody to read this,’ so they’re choosing somebody that is so upset, so frustrated by that to restrict anybody access to it.” Leon said, “so, in this event, we try to raise awareness, we try to talk about these issues and just bring this to light.”  

The first workshop will be “Broadsides Art and Banned Books Display” on Sept 26 at 4 p.m. on the 1st floor by professor Bowman’s Art 351 Class. This workshop discloses a history of broadsides that have been used for advertising and announcing events. Different art techniques and merging with print techniques in creating broadsides, professor Bowman will be displaying his students’ pieces for this type of work at the library during this week.  

“This workshop provides awareness about topics of different forms of censorship and different techniques of printmaking and what inspired the students in these topics to create their unique pieces,” Leon said.  

The second workshop will be “Challenged Children’s and Pictures Books” on Sept 26 at 6 p.m. in Axe room 115 by professor Susan Knell. This workshop covers professor Knell’s involvement in teaching K-12 and what some books were requested to be withdrew from classrooms and school systems by some people.  

“Professor Knell is discussing some books she used that were challenging and were requested to be removed from classrooms, and the challenges she faced to keep up with resources while removing these books,” Leon said.  

The third workshop will be “Justice System and Colorblindness: A Discussion” on Sept 27 at 6 p.m. on the first floor by Rev. Eric J. Gill and this workshop is sponsored by the Tilford Group. This workshop featured M. Alexander’s book, “New Jim Crow,” that discusses the mass incarceration of the justice system.  

“I am really excited to hear the conversation about the social justice and the disconnection between what we feel and see in the media and what’s the reality of the statistics in the numbers of the things and what is the factual look of the colorblindness of the justice system comparing to those perceptions, “Leon said.  

The Axe Library encourages everyone to attend this event and get the benefit of learning about “Banned Books Week” through their free workshops.  

“We really want the people to take a chance and come participate in this event and learn about it. It’s a little bit different from other normal events, but it is a unique opportunity for people to engage in either the more art side of it or in the political side of it,” Leon said.  

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