Saint Mary’s to Participate in Banned Books Week

Cushwa-Leighton Library
Cushwa-Leighton Library

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 284-4579

September 12, 2011 (Notre Dame, IN)—Saint Mary’s College will host the first ever on-campus readings of banned books in celebration of Banned Books Week from September 26-30. The readings will take place in the Mother Pauline Room on the second floor of the Cushwa-Leighton Library at the College from 12:15-1:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Banned Books Week is an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and other organizations, celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. The event highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship of books across the United States. 

Each afternoon, the College’s library will host four readers who will read excerpts from banned books of their choice. The readers include students, faculty, administration and staff of Saint Mary’s College. Librarian Robert Hohl is the coordinator of the Saint Mary’s event.

“The act of censorship continues and we have to continually reaffirm our commitment to freedom of speech, thought, creative power and the exchange of information,” said Hohl. “We have the ability to address acts of censorship in an intelligent and constructive way.”

Banned Books Week was founded to celebrate the intellectual freedom to access information and express ideas, no matter how unorthodox or unpopular, according to ALA’s website.

Hohl recognizes the problems with censorship on literature and intellectual freedom.

“It will probably always be an element of our society. But the problem with banning books is that it undermines a democracy,” said Hohl. 

Hohl also acknowledges the substance in banned books.

“Ironically, sometimes the censored literature is the best literature that society has produced,” said Hohl.

Each reading is expected to last ten minutes. Some of the chosen literature includes “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Animal Farm”, “Slaughterhouse Five”, “Catcher in the Rye”, “Lord of the Rings” and more.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” in the U.S. News & World Report 2011 College Guide. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.