PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University’s Axe Library is inviting students, teachers and the community to join in on the conversation for Banned Books Week starting Tuesday.

Axe Library is hosting a free event for the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week which aims to present the tools and resources needed to stop different forms of censorship.

Tuesday, Department of English and Modern Languages Associate Professor Christopher Anderson will talk about the poet Allen Ginsberg and the consequences of censorship of innovative artistic expression.

An oral interpretation of one of Ginsberg’s poems will be presented by students in Alpha Psi Omega under the direction of PSU Theatre and French double-major Katia Arians. Ginsberg performed the poem in 1972 which led to a obscenity suit filed against his publisher.

Axe Library Learning and Outreach Librarian Jorge Leon said these events during Banned Books Week could prepare future educators and media specialists how to deal with divergent views on books in the classroom, for example what teachers can and cannot teach using books.

“In the workforce they might face an upset parent,” he said. “The professors have a wealth of knowledge on how to handle these situations.”

Teaching and Leadership Program Professor Susan Knell will discuss challenges of requests to ban books and what professionals can do about it.

“They will engage in a professional role where they might find themselves in a situation where someone might say the kids are not ready for this [type of book],” Leon said. “We are wanting to prepare them for that.”  

Attendees will have an opportunity to speak to professors about the impact this has on curriculum, science education, the government's role and other related issues at a roundtable discussion, which will be guided by PSU professors Jim McBain, Don Viney, and Chris Childers of the Department of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences for an engaging discussion.

“The professors have graciously offered their time to talk about different themes,” Leon said.

The schedule:  

Tuesday at 6 p.m. on in The Grind Coffee Shop inside Axe there will be "Howl and Other Obscenities.”
Wednesday at 3 p.m. the library will host "Darwin and the Curriculum." The roundtable discussion will be in room 115.
Thursday at 3 to 4 p.m., room 115, the library will host "Protecting Students' Right to Read: What Teachers and Librarians Need to Know About Challenges."

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.