What is Banned Books Week?
In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case, Island Trees School District v. Pico, ruled that school officials can not ban books in libraries simply because of their content. Shortly thereafter, Banned Books Week was launched by the American Library Association in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to specific books in schools, bookstores, and libraries resulting in restricted access, or that were targeted for removal. Annually, in September, this week has become an opportunity for supporters of the freedom to read to speak out in protest against the banning of books, and the harms of censorship.
What is KVML’s participation?
The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library began participating in Banned Books Week in 2011 when Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five and a book called Twenty Boy Summer were banned from a rural Missouri school. KVML then shipped 75 copies of Vonnegut’s book to students at that school who requested them. KVML has been celebrating the freedom to read ever since.
One highlight of our annual programming is the invitation of an artist, educator, or other passionate visitor to become our Activist in Residence, and actually “live” in the museum for the entire week behind a wall of banned books. This act protests the infringement of the right to free expression. Manon Voice, Indianapolis resident and poet will be our honored host who will take up the torch to educate and enthrall our visitors during this special week.
About ALA’s Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3, 2020) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. For additional information about American Library Association’s Banned Books week visit ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned.
Thank you for making Banned Books Week 2020
at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library a huge success!
IU Professor of Education, Lasana Kazembe
The KVML debuted our new Radical Reading Circle led by Dr. Lasana Kazembe, Professor of Education at IUPUI, with a discussion on the essay “Letter From a Region in My Mind” by James Baldwin. The Reading Circle is open to all and offers a space to discuss, exchange and explore critical and transformative ideas. It embraces the restless, fugitive intellect and creative witness of radical artists such as Kurt Vonnegut, Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, and others which also embrace diplomacy, inquiry and promotes the spirit of critical, democratic engagement. Purchase the book “The Fire Next Time”, from KVML’s Poo-tee-weet Bookstore to help to support KVML programming. Remember to check our website for Radical Reading Circle dates and times.
Poet, Manon Voice
Every year we invite an artist, educator, or other passionate visitor to become our Banned Books Week activist, “living” in the museum for the week, behind a wall of real banned books in protest of the infringement of the right to free expression. This year we are honored to have Indianapolis resident Manon Voice live in our museum as our activist in resident.
Manon Voice is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana and is a poet and writer, spoken word artist, hip-hop emcee, educator, social justice advocate and practicing contemplative. She has performed on diverse stages across the country in the power of word and song and has taught and facilitated art and poetry workshops widely, working with organizations such as: Women Writing for (a) Change, Arts for Learning Indiana, Notre Dame Americorps, Regeneration Indy, Indiana’s WomIN’s Festival, Indiana Writers Center and Purdue University, and many others. Learn more about Manon.
Slaughterhouse-Five graphic novelist Ryan North, Ryan North
KVML talked with author and Eisner Award-winning, Ryan North, along with Albert Monteys, illustrator about the first-ever, graphic novel adaptation for “Slaughterhouse Five”. “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut is an American classic and one of the world’s seminal anti-war books. It has appeared on the top 100 list of banned books many times. To order your copy of the Slaughterhouse Five, graphic novel click here.