McDermott Library Plans Readings of Famous Banned Books

McDermott Library is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week on Tuesday, Oct. 2.  Jady Neal, ordering specialist at the library, holds a copy of one of the banned books: Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.

Many readers have opened the pages of a book that at one time had been banned or challenged. The list includes the seemingly harmless Huckleberry Finn and Harry Potter as well as the coming-of-age novel A Separate Peace.

As a part of the American Library Association’s 30th Anniversary Banned Books Week, Eugene McDermott Library at The University of Texas at Dallas has organized readings by faculty, administrators and students of notable banned or challenged books. Free and open to the public, the “Banned Books Read-Out” of passages and excerpts is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2, in the McDermott Suite on the fourth floor of McDermott Library.

“Censorship has always been an important issue for libraries, and reading from several of these formerly banned and contested books will remind us of our rights based on the First and 14th Amendments,” said Director of Libraries Ellen Safley. “We are most pleased by the enthusiastic support from our faculty and administration for volunteering to participate in this inaugural reading.”

Deans and professors volunteering to read include:

  • Dr. Bert Moore, dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
  • Dr. James Marquart, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
  • Dr. Sheila Piñeres, dean of undergraduate education.
  • Dr. Emily Tobey, associate provost and Nelle C. Johnston Chair in Communication Disorders in Children.
  • Dr. Edward J. Harpham, professor of political science and associate dean of undergraduate education.
  • Dr. Clay Reynolds, professor and director of creative writing, School of Arts and Humanities.
  • Dr. Mary Urquhart, associate professor, Department of Science/Mathematics Education.
  • Dr. Marc R. Hairston, research scientist, W.B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences.



Banned books on the reading list include (clockwise from top right) Women in Love, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Awakening and A Separate Peace.

Other readers will include Vice President for Communications Susan Rogers, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Aaron Conley, UT Dallas Police Chief Larry Zacharias,  Assistant Provost for Policy and Program Coordination Serenity King, McDermott Scholars Sheridan Taylor and Josh Brumett, and McDermott Library Head of Reference Linda Snow.

Books have been banned and targeted for removal from libraries and school reading lists for a variety of criticisms, including inappropriate themes for some age groups, alcohol abuse, physical abuse, prostitution, excessive violence, anti-government content, discrimination against women and minorities, derogatory language, blasphemy and depictions of sexuality.

Among the reading selections are Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence (1920); Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill) by John Cleland (1748); Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (1945); A Separate Peace by John Knowles (1960); Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich (2001); Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954); The Awakening by Kate Chopin (1899); In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1965); and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960).

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].