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New Mexico State University

University Library News Release

Date: September 21, 2009


CONTACT: Jeanette Smith, NMSU Library, (575) 646-7492,

NMSU Library Announces Banned Books Week Activities

The University Library announces that in observance of Banned Books Week, an exhibit entitled "Libraries and the First Amendment" will be displayed in the lobby of Branson Library during library hours from Monday, September 28, through Monday, October 5.

A related Banned Books Week reading event, "Freedom to Read Out Loud," will be held on Wednesday, September 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of Zuhl Library. Readers will read from various banned books for ten minutes each, followed by a ten minute discussion period.

VIP readers will include Carrie Hamblen reading Annie on my Mind, Tom Smith reading James and the Giant Peach and Jeff Brown reading The Grapes of Wrath.

An original short video on intellectual freedom by librarian Liz Miller will play on the Library's home page at and Library monitors. Table tents will also be placed on tables in Branson and Zuhl libraries, the Frenger Food Court and Corbett Center to provoke discussion about intellectual freedom.

The traveling exhibit, provided by the Chicago-based McCormick Freedom Museum, explores the role of libraries in enabling and protecting First Amendment Freedoms. The interactive exhibit examines themes of censorship, access to information, protecting youth and granting meeting space to controversial groups.

Libraries provide access to information about countless subjects to widely diverse audiences, making occasional controversy almost inevitable. Confrontations may occur when libraries provide information about controversial subjects, allow access to potentially objectionable information or permit polarizing groups to use their facilities for meetings.

In addition to the main exhibit at the NMSU Library, a companion Web exhibit at invites online viewers to explore specific controversies, vote on key issues and add their voice to a larger, national discussion.

"'Libraries and the First Amendment' illustrates the importance and relevance of the First Amendment in our daily lives," said Nathan Richie, director of exhibits and programs at the McCormick Freedom Museum. "This exhibit was designed to spark discussions on the role libraries play in our communities and the impact they have on our freedoms."

For more information, contact NMSU librarian Tracey Thompson at (575) 646-8093 or Call (575) 646-4749 for Library hours.