Banned Books in Academic Libraries

I read a great article by Scott DiMarco over at ACRL News – “Why I banned a book.”

Yes, I banned a book. I am a seasoned librarian and academic library director and a supporter of free speech and democracy, but I banned a book. The term heresy quickly comes to mind in the world of librarianship, but the story is much deeper than it first appears. The very temporary banning was simply an object lesson to our campus community on the arbitrary and capricious nature of censorship, as well as providing an interesting take on the nature of social media. Read the full article

Yes, academic librarian Scott of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania banned a book – but not for the reasons you think. He banned a book to stir up emotions on a campus that showed no interest in attending Banned Books Week events. And it worked, too! Thousands of people responded with outrage – to what they found out was a hoax.

Are these desperate times for library events?

I’m sure you’ve experienced similar frustrations at your library. You plan an event months in advance, hire a speaker or come up with what you think is a brilliant presentation, and then four people show up. All of whom are colleagues.

What would you do? Would you merely cope with disappointment or would you vow to boost attendance next time?

How far would YOU go to get the academic community interested in the issues that your library is promoting?

Read the rest of Scott’s article over at ACRL News, and chime in with your thoughts below!

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