Skip to Main Content

Banned and Challenged Books

Find out more about banned and challenged books

Annual Celebration of Banned Books

Banned Books Week is an annual event, typically held in the last week of September, that serves as an awareness campaign to highlight banned and challenged books. For more info on this event, please follow this link

Banned Books Week at McDermott Library

Eugene McDermott Library takes part in Banned Books Week every year, typically with a display featured in the library and an event in which voluntary participants from all over campus read short passages from the notable challenged and banned titles from that year.

September 22, 2022

After a return to campus. we celebrated with a reading held in the Plinth area and you can find the event program linked here. Dean Safley gave a speech which has been published below. 

September 30, 2021

The ongoing pandemic encouraged us to recreate the virtual reading, with even more success and attendees watching via stream. 

October 1, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UT Dallas community was largely remote including McDermott Library. In light of this, we held an online reading event with readers from all over campus. Attendees were invited to watch via stream.

A Message about Book Challenges from the Dean of Libraries

For the past 40 years, the American Library Association has sponsored an annual event in support of the freedom to read and provides information on the current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials in 2021 which includes nearly 1,600 book challenges or removals. And the situation is getting worse.

Yesterday, I received an update for 2022—so far in 8 months there have been 681 challenges on 1,651 titles. 70% of the challenges include multiple titles. Libraries have been closed. Some have been defunded. Librarians have lost their positions because of the situation. 

The Eugene McDermott Library selects materials requested by students, faculty, and staff members as well as from book reviews from standard sources. With any controversial topic, the professionals select material providing information on both sides of an issue. In addition, we provide a “Suggest a Title” link on the main library webpage for your suggestions. The library also provides our Interlibrary Loan Service which enables us to borrow books from other libraries for your use. All excerpts read today are from books owned by McDermott Library.

This year, this event was coordinated by several talented librarians including Travis Goode, Loreen Henry, Ryan Slattery, Katie Robinson, and Chris Edwards. Our readers today include UTD administrators, faculty members, staff, and students. The library is very grateful to these individuals and appreciate their support in battling censorship and supporting intellectual freedom. Thank you.

Dr. Ellen Safley, September 22 2022