Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Fred Parks Law Library Honors Banned Books Week

by Adrienne Cobb, Reference Librarian

The week of September 27-October 4 the Fred Parks Law Library will be honoring Banned Books Week. Banned Books week was started to celebrate the freedom to read. You can learn more about this observance at the American Library Association (ALA) website. Each year they also post a list of the most frequently challenged books on their site.

Books are banned in schools and libraries in the United States for a variety of reasons including political, sexual, religious, and social. Banned Books week helps to raise awareness in hopes of challenging the banning of books in order to promote the free flow of ideas in American society. There have been a number of legal cases and laws involving censorship that legal scholars may be interested in. These include:

Sund v. City of Wichita Falls, 121 F.Supp. 2d 530: Public library patrons brought action to enjoin enforcement of city's resolution that gave library card holders the right to censor children's books by having books removed from children's area of library to adult section.

Campbell v. St. Tammany Parish School Board, 64 F.3d 184: Parents brought suit against school board that removed all copies of book from parish school libraries.

Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260: Staff members of high school newspaper filed First Amendment action seeking injunctive relief, money damages and declaration that First Amendment rights were violated by censorship of certain articles.

Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853: An action was brought seeking declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to removal by defendant board of education of certain books from school libraries.

The Patriot Act section 215: (P.L. 107-56)

To honor this event the Fred Parks Law Library will join the ACLU in hosting an event at the South Texas College of Law campus. During this event several members of the South Texas College of law and the ACLU will be reading passages from books that have been banned. This year's event will take place in the student lounge on Thursday October 9 from 12:00pm-2:30pm. Refreshments will be served.

Please also feel free to view the display in the foyer of the Fred Parks Law Library honoring Banned Books Week.