"Banned Books Out Loud" at university bookstore

September 26 2006

Students, faculty and staff at Indiana State University gathered at the university bookstore in Hulman Memorial Student Union Tuesday (Sept. 26) to read from books that have at one time or place or another been deemed unfit for society - or at least a portion of it.

"This is a right that we need to defend and support, the right to read, the right to publish, the right to have access to language," said Darlene Hantzis, associate professor of communication and campus coordinator of the American Democracy Project.

The annual event, called "Banned Books Out Loud" is a great way to instill citizenship in students by teaching them about a problem and showing them a way to fight it, Hantzis said.

"We have an opportunity to teach them about banning and challenging books. Many of them don't believe or don't know that happens in the United States, and they actually get to stand up, or sit down, and do something by reading,' Hantzis said.

Tell Howson, a freshman political science major from Merom, read aloud from "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America," a book by Barbara Ehrenreich that was on the American Library Association's list of banned books in 2003, the same year it was ISU's Summer Reading Program selection.

"Someday, of course, and I will make no predictions as to exactly when, they are bound to tire of getting so little in return and to demand to be paid what they are worth. There'll be a lot of anger when that day comes and strikes and disruptions. But the sky will not fall, and we'll be better off," Howson read from the book Ehrenreich wrote after working a series of unskilled jobs paying $6 - $7 per hour, about half what is considered a living wage.

"I don't understand why you should ban books. I mean, all people have to do is not read them or don't let your kids read them. There's no need to actually ban them," Howson said after reading the selection.

Other books read during the event included "The Goats," which sparked controversy in the Vigo County School Corp. in the late 1990s, "The Diary of Anne Frank," "Of Mice and Men," and selections from the Harry Potter series.

Staged in conjunction with the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, the third annual "Banned Books Outloud Day" at Indiana State was part of a series of events the American Democracy Project is sponsoring leading up to the November 7 mid-term elections.

Co-sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the New York Times, the American Democracy Project promotes civic engagement and community involvement among college-aged voters.

Contact: Darlene Hantzis, associate professor of communication and campus coordinator, American Democracy Project, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2781 or dmhantzis@indstate.edu

Writer: Megan Anderson, media relations intern, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3773 or manderson13@mymail.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

ISU students, faculty and staff read from a vareity of works during the third annual "Banned Books Out Loud Day." Staged in conjunction with the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, the event is part of efforts by the American Democracy Project to educate college age voters about their rights and responsibilities in a democracy.

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