Censorship Banned Books WeekEssential ideas championed by American libraries — the freedom to read what we want, the role of books in an informed democracy, and the rights of citizens and citizenship — received a flurry of attention during September at the Learning Commons.

Special events marked “Banned Books Week,” a national awareness event showcasing books historically excluded from schools and libraries. Among the banned books that flew off the library’s shelves during the month were 24 favorites handpicked by Skyline students, faculty and staff in a survey.  On September 27, selections from many of these were featured at a Banned Books Reading before a packed house at the library. Each reader chose passages or scriptures to share while giving background on the reason behind the book being banned.

Librarian Pia Walawalkar read from Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, Music Professor Zachary Bruno read from The Bible, English Instructor Monique Iles read from Virginia Woolfe’s Ms. Dalloway, Interim Dean of the Language Arts Division Chris Gibson read from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, English Instructor Katherine Harer read from Ulysses, and Interim Dean of Social Sciences/ Creative Arts Division read from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Visit the Learning Commons Facebook page for photos of the event at https://www.facebook.com/SkylineCollegeLearningCommons/.

“Banned or Not?” an interactive library exhibit, challenged students to guess which ones, from a selection of books, had been banned in the past. The exhibit was accompanied by “Censorship by the Numbers” literature to answer vital questions about the why’s and how’s of censorship in America.

A Citizenship Day booth, hosted by the Skyline College Dream Center, the USA student club, and the Learning Commons, gave students a place to voice resistance to current immigration policies while also promoting awareness, through shared messages of support for Skyline College’s nearly 400 undocumented students who live, work, and study without the protections of citizenship. The library has a core collection of books about undocumented immigrants on display through October.

San Francisco Peninsula People Power came to the Learning Commons on September 25 to promote Voter Registration Day and help people register to vote.  Additional voter registration forms are available through October at an Exercise Your Rights information table in the library.

During October, the Library is recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month with a mini-exhibit of books by LatinX authors and a poetry reading by English Instructor Brandon Diaz on October 8, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., in Skyline College Library. See you there!

Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp | Photo by Marisa Thigpen

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