Banned Books Uncensored: Free Webinar on Defending Titles About Health, Sex, and Growing Up

Banned and Challenged Books

By: Ellie Diaz, Office for Intellectual Freedom Program Officer

Banned Books Uncensored: Health, Sex  Growing Up!

The Office for Intellectual Freedom has identified a significant number of censorship attempts to books that address health, sex, gender identity, and adolescence. The free webinar “Banned Books Uncensored: Health, Sex & Growing Up!” on Thursday will explore why these topics are challenged and ways to defend these titles. 

The webinar invites frequently challenged authors Cory Silverberg (Sex is a Funny Word) and Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer), and library directors Jackie Mills (Mt. Angel Public Library) and Buzzy Nielsen (Crook County Library) who have defended books on these topics, for a can’t-miss conversation.

Library workers and educators will come out of the webinar armed with knowledge about the importance of informational and inclusive titles on library shelves, as well as guidance on how to start honest discussions with those who want to censor these vital materials. Moderated by Office for Intellectual Freedom Kristin Pekoll, the webinar will also review how to find support when censorship occurs. There will also be time to ask speakers questions. 

This webinar is part of the Banned Books Uncensored webinar series. The series takes a deep dive into the frequently cited reasons why books are challenged to prepare library workers for future censorship attempts.

Reserve your spot for “Banned Books Uncensored: Health, Sex & Growing Up!” on Thursday, May 7, at 1 p.m. Central, and learn more about the speakers below. 


Cory Silverberg

Raised in the 1970s by a children’s librarian and a sex therapist, Cory Silverberg grew up to be a sex educator, an author, and queer (not necessarily in that order). Cory received a master’s degree in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.  Since 1997 he has developed and facilitated workshops for hundreds of agencies and organizations serving both youth and adults across North America on a range of topics including gender expression and identity, sexuality and disability, sexual pleasure, sexual communication, technology, and access + inclusion. He is the co-author of three books, most recently the ALA Stonewall Honor Book Sex Is a Funny Word, with Fiona Smyth. Most of Cory’s work is collaborative, working across and within the spaces that divide race, gender, embodiment, disability, and identity. His life is full of kids. All of them know where babies come from. Some know more.

Mariko Tamaki is the award winning co-creator of the graphic novels This One Summer, with Jillian Tamaki, and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me with Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. She also writes about heroes, villains and mutants for Marvel and DC Comics and curates the Abrams LGBTQ imprint, Surely Books.

Buzzy Nielsen

Buzzy Nielsen is a self-professed policy wonk who happens to also direct the Crook County Library in Oregon. He’s spent most of his 20-year library career working in and advocating for rural libraries. His wonkishness is put to good use as chair of the Oregon Library Association’s Library Development and Legislation Committee.

Jackie Mills

Jackie Mills has been a librarian for 28 years, working in four different states. While most of her career was spent in elementary and middle school libraries, she has also been a children’s librarian in a public library, an assistant librarian in an academic library, a branch manager of a public library and is currently the Library Director of a small, rural library in Oregon. A MLIS graduate of University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Jackie is passionate about every area of librarianship (except scheduling) and is a zealous defender of intellectual freedom and the freedom to read.

Ellie Diaz

Ellie Diaz is the Program Officer at the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. With her journalism background and fierce devotion to the freedom to read, Ellie collaborates with experts on organizing ALA’s Banned Books Week and several other projects within OIF.

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