Don’t judge a book by its cover

September 27, 2016

It’s a privilege many don’t even realize they have. The crisp, clean flip of the pages. The can’t-put-it-down feeling.



Reading is a part of our everyday lives, even though we might not do it as much as we should. But did you know that even in the United States with all our freedoms, there are still things such banned books?


“Through reading we really do learn a lot about the world, and imagine if anyone could just edit what we were reading so that we wouldn’t be able to learn new things really,” said Paulette Kilmer, professor of communication and Banned Books committee member. “It’s like when you put blinders on a horse… that will help the horse focus, but if you do that to human beings through banning books, then it would just limit our vision.”


On Thursday, Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the UT Banned Books Vigil will be held on the fifth floor of Carlson Library. The UT Banned Books Vigil is a celebration of the right to read and think freely during the national American Library Association’s Banned Books Week during Sept. 25 – Oct. 1.


“Banned books is an opportunity to celebrate our right to read and think freely but it’s also a chance to think about books and what a difference books make in our lives,” Kilmer said.


Presentations on banned materials and about banned book issues will be given every half hour. Snacks will be available all day, in addition to small meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Gift bags will be given to the first 400 participants, as well as the chance to win larger prizes every half hour.


Some of the banned books that will be given out during this year’s vigil include Where’s Waldo, Fifty Shades of Grey, 1984 and The Golden Compass.


“I think sometimes people ban books without even reading them,” Kilmer said.


At noon, Sam Nelson, chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, will give a lecture on “Owning the Words: Intellectual Property, First Amendment Law and the Parlous State of Free Speech.” Other presentations include censorship in the media and freedom of expression.


“We are not able to reach our potential if we are not able to read,” Kilmer said. “And sometimes I read things that make me mad and that’s good. That’s better than going through life feeling nothing at all.”

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