Censorship events highlight of Banned Books Week 

The topic of censorship will be explored at Pittsburg State University during Banned Books Week, a week that has been observed nationally since 1982 in response to a surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. 

Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information.  


Axe Library and the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts are collaborating on a banned books exhibit that opens in the Bicknell Center art gallery with a soft opening on Thursday, Sept. 23. It is free and open to the public. 

Curator Shawna Witherspoon has planned for the first wall of the gallery to be photos and a display of items associated with controversial Southeast Kansas publisher E. Haldeman Julius. The second wall will focus on book burnings and the world of virtual censorship. The third and final wall will pose questions to patrons regarding their thoughts on censorship. 

Art supplies will be available to patrons to allow interaction with the exhibit, which will remain up through the end of the semester — although it will change over time. 

“Just like censorship,” said Ruth Monnier, learning outreach librarian. "Hopefully it will cause people who see it to pause and reflect. It’s not a static exhibit, and there will be opportunities for people to engage and interact.” 

High School Banned Books Showcase 

Regional high schools have been invited to participate in a mini conference on Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Overman Student Center. The Banned Books Showcase sponsored by PSU Library Services and the Department of English.   

Author Chris Crutcher, who has had every one of his books banned or challenged, will be the keynote speaker.  

“They’ll get a very intimate time with the author and a Q&A session related to that,” Monnier said. 

Throughout the Showcase, there will be sessions by various experts on censorship and banned books.  

The generosity of PSU alumni, the Albertini Family, have made it possible for Crutcher to be on campus. 

Monnier is anticipating 75 to 100 students. The event is not open to the public. 


Author presentation 

“An Evening with Chris Crutcher: Books Unite. Censorship Divides,” will start at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Bicknell Center. It will include a short Q&A, and after his remarks, he’ll sign books in the lobby which will be available for sale to patrons. 

Crutcher is the author of Loser's Bracket, Whale Talk, and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes.

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Albertini family, the Office of Student Diversity, Student Government Association, and the Department of English.