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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Photo The Fayetteville Public Library will mark Banned Books Week on Wednesday with a panel discussion that includes area librarians and experts.

The Fayetteville Public Library will mark Banned Books Week by hosting a panel discussion on censorship and the history of banned books at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Banned Books Week is an event coordinated by the Banned Books Week Coalition, an alliance of national organizations that seeks to promote awareness of the freedom to read.

FAQ

Censorship & Banned Books:

A Panel Discussion

WHEN — 6 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE — Fayetteville Public Library, 401 W. Mountain St. in Fayetteville

COST — Free

INFO — 856-7000

"The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship," reads a mission statement on its website.

The FPL panel will include University of Arkansas user experience librarian Kathleen Lehman, UA associate professor Danielle Weatherby, Fayetteville High School librarian Sarah Roberson, and FPL youth services librarian Hotspur Closser.

"Some of the topics they'll be covering will be general -- why is it important to talk about the freedom to read, the history of censorship and book banning, whether it has increased or decreased over the last 50 years," says FPL manager of Adult Services Heather Robideaux. "With the university and high school librarians, I'm sure they'll touch on the different questions and censorship issues with which schools are approached. I'm sure it will come up at some point, the attempt to ban Howard Zinn's books in Arkansas schools. So there's kind of a lot of ground to cover, but the overarching theme will be why it's important to think about the freedom to read and the importance of free and open access to materials."

Robideaux says that the FPL has a procedure in place in the event that a library book receives complaints or concern -- though she says such complaints have been very infrequent over the years.

"I will say that I can only remember one or two in the 15 years that I've been there," she says. "There's a process that we go through in order to evaluate [the complaints]. There's a form that they fill out and it goes through a review committee." But, says Robideaux, initially, "we go through a very stringent review process before we purchase books. As a community library, we want to include everybody. We have a wide net, and we want everyone to feel included when they come in."

-- Lara Hightower

lhightower@nwadg.com

NAN What's Up on 09/22/2017

Print Headline: Battle Not To Ban

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