Valencia College’s Banned Book Week To Highlight Censorship and Freedoms

Denise Diaz, Copy Editor

Valencia College is set to host this year’s Banned Book Week on September 18 through 24, and will be both virtual and in-person. The special events will be open and accessible to all Valencia students and faculty. This year’s theme all around the country is “Books unite us. Censorship divides us.” The intent is to shed light on the effects of censorship in our communities. 


Valencia College’s Banned Book Week and First Amendment Day (Prof. Rebecca Newman, Media)

Banned Book Week was originally launched in 1982 and served to bring awareness of the importance of exercising our rights to read without limiting the access to information. According to the national website, Banned Books Week 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.



Valencia College’s Media Professor Rebecca Newman and East Campus Librarian Courtney Moore were awarded the Cliff and Daisy Whitehall Endowed Chair in Legal Studies in light of Banned Books Week. Panels will focus on free speech and intellectual freedom along with the celebration of First Amendment Day on September 25. 


Valencia College have combined forces with community organizations impacted by banned books such as Valencia College Book Nerds, the Orange County Library System, Florida Freedom to Read ProjectHolocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center and more. The objective is to educate others of the dangers regarding censorship and to encourage the right to exercise and celebrate our First Amendment rights


There will be an on-campus tabling event. The Community Booth Day will take place at Valencia’s East Campus from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the mall area in front of Bldg. 5 and East Campus Library.


Excerpts from this year’s banned books collection will be read. Students will be able to participate in a trivia contest and an essay contest with the topic of censorship. Prizes for the winners include bookstore credits up to $100 and Amazon Fire tablets. Valencia Humanities Department will be sponsoring the protest song karaoke, followed by a presentation at 2:30 p.m. on Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel “Maus” headed by our East Campus English Department Faculty. 


Banned Book Week. (Sofia Gonzalez, Valencia West Campus Labbie and Graphic Designer)


A few Banned Books that will be featured in this year’s event include the New York Times named “Most Banned Book In The Country” graphic memoir “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, “All Boys aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez and more. 


A week-long discussion will be centered around censorship and the first freedoms which include freedom of press, religion, speech, assembly, and freedom to petition. Virtual events and panel discussions will be hosted via Zoom. 



Schedule of Events for Banned Book Week.



Valencia College Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Bill Mullowney and Mike Hiestand of the Student Press Law Center will kick off the first day of discussion on Tuesday, September 20 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. tackling the topic of “Social Media Speech, What Rules Apply, if any?”


On Wednesday, September 21 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Reverend Josh Bell, Rabbi David Kay of the Congregation Ohev Shalom, Dr. Claudia Schippert and Reverend Margarie Belizaire from the Interfaith Council of Central Florida will host the panel discussion on “Religious Freedom: What’s at Stake if We Lose It?”.


Valencia College Librarians Adam Johnson and Regina Seguin will host the final discussion on Thursday, September 22 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will discuss how you can “Be an Informed Voter”.


On September 27 beginning at 1 p.m., Valencia College Book Nerds will be hosting a book discussion in Bldg 4, Rm 212B on East Campus. The book discussion will be on Orwell’s 1945 beast fable Animal Farm and will also be available via Zoom.

Thank you to the Valencia clubs, community organizations, and others who have participated in the coordination of the week-long event. 


For more information about Banned Books Week at Valencia and to register for the virtual panels, a libguide link  was composed for student’s conveience.