Battling Over Books

English Department hosts panel of educators and librarians to discuss book bans

A panel of educators and librarians will discuss “Book Bans and Why They Matter” 7 p.m. Thursday, October 5th in the Park Library’s Opperman Auditorium.

The panel includes faculty from the Department of English Language and Literature, including Carlin Borsheim-Black, Mark Freed, and Joe Sommers, who will be joined by Mount Pleasant High School English Teacher Alexia Cain, Chippewa River District Library Director Corey Friedrich, and State Librarian of Michigan and CMU alumnus Randy Riley. The panel will discuss current debates about book bans in the United States and the dangerous precedents these laws set.

“Censorship and book banning often coincide with efforts to limit democratic freedoms,” said English faculty member JoEllen Delucia, one of the event organizers.

Many books, by authors as diverse as William Shakespeare, Percy Shelley, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, were once banned even though their works are celebrated as part of American culture and core academic curriculum today.

In recent months, this hot button issue has been gaining traction due to the political climate in America. School districts across the nation are banning books in increasing numbers in K-12 classrooms and libraries, including books that focus on people of color and the LGBTQ+ community.

DeLucia encourages students to attend this event to “...learn more about the relationship between the freedom to read, public libraries, public education, and our shared democratic traditions.”

CMU’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, a national English Honors Society, will moderate this event, which is free and open to all.

View latest news