Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has garnered a great deal of recognition: a 1961 Pulitzer Prize and the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and status in 2011 as the American Library Association’s 10th most banned book.
The last week of September marks the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. The University of Toledo will join the celebration Thursday, Oct. 1, on the fifth floor of Carlson Library for the 18th annual Banned Books Week Vigil.
The free, public event will begin at 9 a.m. with programs running every half hour until 5 p.m. Speakers will celebrate the right to read, think and speak freely with the campus and Toledo community.
“Our festival is a mirror of how greatly this campus believes in intellectual freedom,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication, founder and coordinator of the event, which the UT Banned Books Week Coalition spends months planning.
“This campus’ belief is evident in many ways — our library, our IT and computer support, the free access for Wi-Fi, The Independent Collegian, UT:10, the radio station — these all show that intellectual inquiry is very important here,” she said.
Light snacks and refreshments will be available all day, with free banned books and prizes distributed every half hour. Also this year, the first 400 attendees will receive a goody bag at the entrance, and one bag will have $50 cash donated by New Sins Press. WXUT also donated 21 shirts for prizes in an all-day Banned Music Twitter Trivia game.
“We are proud to host this campus-wide celebration of the right to read and think freely,” Kilmer said. “Our event gives UT people an opportunity to support freedom of expression. We set aside all sorts of holidays — for groundhogs, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day — and they’re all good, but we could really afford to add a holiday for reading, too.”
Topics and speakers for the event will be:
• 9 a.m. — “Welcome,” Barbara Floyd, director of UT’s Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections and interim director of UT Libraries, and Dr. Jeffrey Wilkinson, professor and chair of the UT Communication Department;
• 9:30 a.m. — “Reflections” by UT Interim Provost John Barrett;
• 10 a.m. — “Silencing Through Stereotypes: Native Americans in Children’s Literature” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and interim chair of the UT Women’s and Gender Studies;
• 10:30 a.m. — “Toledo Free Press Memories” by Sarah Ottney, Toledo freelance journalist;
• 11 a.m. — “The Helicopter Problem” by Dr. David Tucker, UT professor of communication;
• 11:30 a.m. — “Women Who Know Better” by Warren Woodbury, Toledo author;
• Noon — The Dr. Linda Smith Lecture: “Do Criminals Have First Amendment Rights? Civic Death and the U.S. Constitution” by Dr. Renee Heberle, UT professor of political science;
• 1 p.m. — “Innocence Seduced: A Brief History of Comic Book Censorship” by Dr. Matt Yockey, UT associate professor of theatre and film;
• 1:30 p.m. — “The Shifting Lines of Intellectual Property in the Digital Age” by Wilkinson;
• 2 p.m. — “College Confidential: Censorship of College newspapers” by The Independent Collegian Editor-in-Chief Amanda Pitrof and Forum Editor Morgan Rinckey;
• 2:30 p.m. — “Trigger Warning Here! A Reflection on ‘Trigger Warnings’ in Higher Education” by Dr. Glen Sheldon, UT honors professor of humanities;
• 3 p.m. — “Jeopardy!” hosted by The Independent Collegian staff;
• 3:30 p.m. — “Naughty Girls or Nasty Minds? The Evolution of Pin-Up Models” by Torrie Jadlocki, local photojournalist;
• 4 p.m. — “You Can’t Teach That!” by Cindy Ramirez, English teacher at Bedford Senior High School; and
• 4:30 p.m. — “Banned Books, Birds and Expressing Beliefs Through Art,” by Lee Fearnside, associate professor of art at Tiffin University.
In addition to Kilmer, UT Banned Books Week Coalition members are Sheldon; Arjun Sabharwal, UT associate professor of library administration; UT alumna Laura Kinsel Mitchell; and communication students Danielle Pigula and Josie Schreiber.
Kilmer said the Banned Book Week Vigil would not be possible without help from generous sponsors: Barry’s Bagels; Ann Lumbrezer; Promedica; UT Starbuck’s; The Independent Collegian; WXUT; Kroger; Society for Professional Journalists; New Sins Press; Phoenicia Cuisine; Barnes & Noble University Bookstore; UT Center for Experiential Learning and Career Development; UT Federal Credit Union; UT Foundation Friends of the Libraries; UT Libraries; Jesup Scott Honors College; UT Student Government; UT departments of Art, Communication, English Language and Literature, Foreign Languages, Theatre and Film; UT offices of the Provost, Student Involvement, Excellence and Multicultural Success, Greek Life, Enrollment Services, Communications, and Dean of the College of Communication and the Arts.