top of page

Sun, Mar 24

|

Zoom

Canterbury Forum

Canterbury Forum
Canterbury Forum

Time & Location

Mar 24, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Zoom

About The Event

On Sunday, March 24, the Canterbury Forum will host a program focused on the widespread efforts by cultural and religious conservatives to censor the educational and informational role of public libraries in America. Our presenter is Dr. Johnnie R. Blunt, instructor and Education and Youth Services Librarian at the University of Northern Iowa's Rod Library. Dr. Blunt takes a long view of the current assault on public libraries, placing it in historical perspective. Titling his talk "Public Libraries in the Current Age of Book Bans and Censorship", he describes it in these words:  "According to the American Library Association, 'a core value of librarianship...is thwarting censorship and allowing the free and full exchange of ideas.'  This statement assumes that a fully functional democracy depends on a literate and informed citizenry. Within this context, public libraries ensure that all citizens have access to the sociopolitical contradictions, tensions, and debates that inform their lives. But the history of public libraries reveals a harsher reality. The impetus of public library systems in the late nineteenth century was to solidify and reproduce the status quo. The 'free and full exchange of ideas' was permissible when these ideas enhanced and celebrated the status quo of a heteronormative White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture.  In this presentation, I argue that book bans and censorships in the United States are, in part, attempts to return public libraries to their late nineteenth-century historical roots."

Share This Event

bottom of page