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Banned Books Week Event to Feature Author Shannon Hale

On October 4th, Utah author Shannon Hale will discuss how her personal experiences as a children’s author and lifelong Utahn have led her to believe that the freedom to read and access books is vital to a democratic and empathetic society. This event is taking place during the annual Banned Books Week, which spans from October 1st through the 7th. 

Let Them Eat Books – A Banned Books Week Event
October 4th, 2023
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Learning Space, Level 2
J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah

The challenges are happening at record levels across the nation in public schools and in libraries. For the 2022-2023 school year, PEN America reported 3,362 instances of book bans in US public school classrooms and libraries, an increase of 33% from the previous year. Utah recorded the fourth highest number of book bans (281) after Florida (1,406), Texas (625), and Missouri (333).

Locally, in June of 2023, Davis County School District made the national news with the removal of the King James version of the Bible from elementary and middle school libraries because of concerns around age appropriateness. The Bible has since been returned to the shelves, but multiple book challenges continue to be filed in multiple school districts across the state. While it ultimately did not pass, Utah House Bill 464 in the 2023 legislative session proposed a rating system for all library books, immediate removal from library shelves at the moment of challenge, written consent from parents to check out materials rated a “serious concern,” and a pathway for parents to sue school districts for $500 per instance for materials they believe to be inappropriate.

The Marriott Library has held Banned Books events for many years as a way to show support for the “freedom to read”. There will also be a display of many of the books that have been challenged or banned at the level 3 entrance during the month of October. This year’s event is co-sponsored by the Tanner Humanities Center.

About Banned Books Week

The American Library Association (ALA) describes Banned Book Week as an event that “celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For more than 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community — librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, writers, journalists and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

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