Escape The Dead End Of Censorship! A Virtual Escape Room Adventure… Plus More Banned Books Week Activities

Banned and Challenged Books, Banned Books Week

By: Sarah Hartman-Caverly

The ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table and Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table are teaming up to bring you a very ‘graphic’ Banned Books Week! Use your intellectual freedom knowledge to Escape the Dead End of Censorship!, join us for a week of webinars exploring censorship’s impact on comics and graphic novels, and engage every day with our #BannedBooksWeek in Action virtual activities – including one very scary watch party.

Escape The Dead End Of Censorship! A Virtual Escape Room Adventure

Excerpt from censored comic in Escape the Dead End of Censorship!

Someone is trying to save the world from dangerous ideas by censoring popular comics – but who will save our freedom to read from the censors? Begin your adventure by repairing a comic that censors tried to destroy. Then, demonstrate your knowledge of intellectual freedom by solving three clues to join the team of heroes fighting for the freedom to read! Earn some social media bragging rights and show off your victory over censorship with your digital winner swag.

Escape the Dead End of Censorship! Credits:

Developed by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table Education Committee. Original comic and digital swag made with Make Beliefs Comix, an ALA Great Site for Kids. Custom jigsaw puzzle made with I’m a Puzzle. Get challenge support from the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom. Discover book ban and challenge trends with the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists. Learn more about graphic novels and comics from the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table. Explore the history of graphic novel and comic censorship with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Find more Banned Books Week events and resources from the Banned Books Week Coalition

Join GNCRT, Image Comics, and IFRT for an Awesome Week of Webinars!

Image Comics with the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table will present Library Livestreams daily, Monday – Friday (9/28-10/2) at noon central via Zoom. Each Library Livestream will be a freewheeling discussion on creativity, freedom of expression, the (sometimes recent) history of banned and challenged comics, and how access to information is a fundamental right library patrons can expect librarians to defend across the world.

  • Mon 9/28 — Censorship: The Comics Code Authority & Rating Systems – Alex Cox (Image Comics) in conversation with Sarah Hartman-Caverly (@IFRT_ALA) on the history of the Comics Code Authority and its impact on comics censorship. This discussion will also touch on how current ratings systems and library classifications can impact readership. [registration link]
  • Tues 9/29  — Banned through Comics Metadata!? – Librarians Allison Bailund (San Diego State University), Hallie Clawson (University of Washington Information School), and Rotem Anna Diamant (Canada Comics Open Library) in conversation with Brittany Netherton (Darien Public Library) on how the metadata of comics can limit and grant access to comics. From proper crediting of creators to the details of a catalog record – comics metadata matters. [registration link]
  • Wed 9/30 — Black People in ComicsValentine De Landro (Bitch Planet, X-Factor), Johnnie Christmas (Tartatus, Sheltered) and Chuck Brown (Bitter Root) in conversation with Tamela Chambers (Black Caucus American Library Association) on how Black people have been historically portrayed in comics, from the obstacles of integrating Black characters into mainstream and superhero comics to present day works, issues Black creators face working in the comics industry, and the importance of non-white characters existing on the comics page. [registration link]
  • Thurs 10/1 — (Un)Welcome to the Comics Industry – It’s not just libraries that have banned comics – sometimes it’s the comics industry itself. Chloe Ramos (Image Comics), Sina Grace (Self Obsessed, Not My Bag), Laurenn McCubbin (Moonstruck, SFSX), and Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet, Captain Marvel) in conversation with Dan Wood (Escondido Public Library) will discuss how harassment serves as a form of censorship within the industry by creating unsafe and unwelcoming environments, and how awareness of these issues is important for librarians to understand. [registration link]
  • Fri 10/2 — Comics: “Are These Real Books?”Charles Soule (Undiscovered Country, Daredevil) in conversation with Matthew Noe (GNCRT President-Elect) on why comics so often wind up on annual most challenged books lists, what comics are most often challenged, and what you can do to overcome negative opinions of comics. [registration link]

#BannedBooksWeek in Action!

Join the @BannedBooksWeek Coalition family, including @OIF, @IFRT_ALA, and GNCRT (@libcomix), to celebrate #intellectualfreedom with virtual #BannedBooksWeek In Action activities:

  • Sunday 9/27: Read a #BannedBook or #BannedAuthor to kick off #BannedBooksWeek
  • Monday 9/28: Speak out about #Censorship during #BannedBooksWeek
  • Tuesday 9/29: Create something unrestricted for #BannedBooksWeek
  • Wednesday 9/30: Express the #FreedomToRead in style during #BannedBooksWeek
  • Thursday 10/1: Write about your rights and #FreedomToRead for #BannedBooksWeek
  • Friday 10/2: Watch, listen, and learn from others during #BannedBooksWeek – including the @scarystoriesdoc watch party and live Q&A with director Cody Meirick!
  • Saturday 10/3: Thank those who defend the #FreedomToRead every day of the year to close out #BannedBooksWeek 2020

Sarah Hartman-Caverly

Sarah Hartman-Caverly, MS(LIS), MSIS, is a reference and instruction librarian at Penn State Berks, where she liaises with Engineering, Business and Computing programs. Prior to her current appointment, Sarah was a reference and instruction librarian at a community college, and was an electronic resources manager and library system administrator in both community and small liberal arts college settings. Sarah’s research examines the compatibility of human and machine autonomy from the perspective of intellectual freedom. Recent contributions include “Version Control” (ACRL 2017), “Our ‘Special Obligation’: Library Assessment, Learning Analytics, and Intellectual Freedom” (ACRL 2018), and “Human Nature is Not a Machine: On Liberty, Attention Engineering, and Learning Analytics” (Library Trends, 2019). She earned her MS(LIS) and MSIS from Drexel University in 2011.

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