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Dayton Metro Library will host 'Banned Book Week' to raise awareness of attempts at censorship

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This week is Banned Books Week. Dayton Metro Library wants to encourage their patrons to take a stand against censorship.

This week is Banned Books Week. Dayton Metro Library will host a series of speakers and events this week to raise awareness of attempts at censorship.

Dayton Metro Library leaders say they want to foster intellectual freedom and representation in literature. Requests for libraries and schools to ban books have doubled in recent years, according to Jeffery Trzeciak, the Executive Director of the Dayton Metro Library.

These requests threaten authors and readers who belong to minority groups.

“While the attempt at banning books is broad, more often than not, the books that are challenged are either by Black authors or include LGBTQ content,” Trzeciak said. “So what it means is that those voices aren’t represented in our collections, potentially.”

These attempts at banning books include Ohio House Bill 327, the “Divisive Concepts Bill,” which could ban schools and libraries from stocking certain books lawmakers deem “divisive.”

What could or could not be “divisive” is very vague and can differ from person to person, Trzeciak said. This could result in a book that is harmless to one person being banned because a legislator deemed it “divisive” and offensive.

This puts representation for People of Color and people in the LGBTQ+ community at danger of being erased from the Dayton Metro Library collection.

“It’s in our mission to be open and welcoming to all,” Trzeciak said. “And we strive to make sure that our collections represent all of the communities that we serve. And we are certainly concerned about recent efforts to censor and to ban books which seem to be on the rise.”

In order to raise awareness about these issues, DML will have events that are free to the public to attend.

Banned Books Week Events:

  • Banned Books Week: A Book Club Discussion on Censorship

    • A Virtual Program - Monday, September 19, 6 - 7 p.m.

      • Join DML staff members as they lead a discussion on the impacts of banning books, the importance of representation in literature of all ages, and Melissa by Alex Gino.
  • Banned Books: A Special Panel Discussion on Intellectual Freedom

    • Main Library, Eichelberger Forum - Tuesday, September 20, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

      • This focused discussion will have a keynote and Q&A on the importance of readers having intellectual freedom. Registration is recommended. The Keynote speaker will be Christopher Finan, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). Panelists will include area writers and college instructors John Kachuba, Furaha Henry-Jones, and Dr. Sandra Sumerfield. DML’s Executive Director, Jeffery Trzeciak and Collection Development Director, Holly Richards, will also join the discussion.
  • Banned Books: An Author’s Perspective with Alex Gino

    • Main Library, Bassaini Theater Off Third - Saturday, September 24, 2 - 3:30 p.m.

      • Alex Gino, award-winning author of Melissa, will share their perspective on the current increase in book challenges and censorship.

DML will also give patrons a free book bag, supplies to decorate the bag, activity packets with games and crafts, information on how to become an activist against banning books, and a free copy of Melissa by Alex Gino when they visit any DML location.

Each DML location also has unique book displays that highlight books that have been banned, encouraging readers to read them.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.