Freedom to Read Grant/Banned Books Week 2017

BANNED BOOK WEEK REPORT, September 24-30, 2017

Rutgers University Libraries

For more information visit:

Twitter: #RutgersBannedBooksWeek

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The Rutgers University Libraries hosted a series of events for Banned Books Week (BBW), which took place from Sept.24-Sept. 30, 2017. This series of events, included, button making, journal making, two exhibitions, a performance, a reception, and a t-shirt and button give away with images about intellectual freedom created by undergraduates from Rutgers Mason Gross Visual Arts Department.

  • Roughly 180 patrons attended events held during Banned Books Week.
  • 300 buttons to advertise BBW were given away.
  • 500 buttons were given away with images about intellectual freedom and censorship created by undergraduates from Rutgers Mason Gross Visual Arts Department, kudos to the artists.
  • 140 t-shirts were given away, including an image created by artist/RU undergraduate Alexandra (Alex) Lobo.
  • 17 reference questions were asked during/directly after these events.
  • The exhibit at Douglass Library included 68 missing flyer/book posters created by members from the Rutgers communities.
  • 100 of each, BBW reports, BBW stickers, and BBW book marks created by the American Library Association (ALA) were given away.
  • Over 100 BBW crosswords and coloring pages were given away.

Over-all, many positive comments were received about the outstanding work the libraries are doing, and how important it is to discuss the ideas of intellectual freedom and censorship. Please see below a list of activities that occurred.


  • Rutgers Art Library hosted an exhibit of banned resources which will run from Sept 12- November 1, 2017.
  • Douglass Library hosted a “Missing Books” exhibit which ran from Sept 19-Sept 27, 2017. Link to all the flyers created:

Self-directed opportunities:

  • Douglass Library had banned books week coloring pages, books marks, buttons, & stickers.
  • The Art Library had banned books week coloring pages, book marks, buttons & stickers.
  • The Art Library had banned books week photo booth available Sept 24-30.
  • Win a prize at the Art Library by guessing “the banned book in a jar” game.
    • Winners of guess the book in a jar contest included: Mi Hyun Yoon, PhD student in the American Studies program at Rutgers-Newark and Elisa Mendez. Thanks to Barnes & Noble for donating these prizes.
  • Join the Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament and win a fantastic literary prize from the American Library Association!!!


  • Button and Journal making happened at Alexander Library on Tuesday, September 26, 3p.m.- 4:30p.m. (roughly 80 button makers attended)
  • Banned Books Week reception and t-shirt give away at the Art Library on Thursday, September 28, 2017, 7p.m.-8p.m. (roughly 100 attended)
    • T-shirt project with Mason Gross Visual Arts included: Including Advance Undergraduate Student Printmakers, Sarah Berry, Johanna Boyce, Zahra Bukhari, Alexandra Lobo and Assistant Professor in Print making Barb Madsen.
    • Christian Diaz, Performance Artist, MFA candidate from Mason Gross Visual Arts. Christhian grew up in Latin America & Florida. He attended The Cooper Union in NYC where he began making performance art. His currently an MFA candidate at Rutgers University where he teaches photography. Christhain also serves as president of the board of UnLocal, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free legal representation to undocumented immigrants in NYC. Christian also organizes a series of open performance nights out of his living room called Fifteen Minutes of Doing Something Now.


A special thanks to the following individuals for helping with this project: Matt Badessa (RUL Communications-Alexander Library), Flora Boros (SC/UA- Alexander Library), Stephanie Crawford (SC/UA- Alexander Library), Tara Maharjan (SC/UA- Alexander Library), Chiaki Mills (RUL Douglass Library), Janki Patel (Undergrad Art History/Art Library reference assistant), Jessica Pellien (RUL Communications-Alexander Library), Sheridan Sayles (SC/UA-Alexander Library), Brady Smith (Graduate Student, Landscape Architecture), and Nicole Spivey (Barnes & Noble).

Additional thanks to: Dave Augusma (RUL-Alexander Library), Rose Barbalace (RUL-Alexander Library), Jean Boyle (RUL-Alexander Library), Chloe Dopico (Rutgers Daily Targum), Abbey DiPaolo (RUL-Alexander Library), Charlene Houser (RUL-Alexander Library), James Hartstein (RUL-Alexander Library), Daonne Huff (Mason Gross Visual Arts) Lindsay Lockwood (All Colors Printing) Dee Magnoni (RUL-Alexander Library), Andy Martinez (RUL-Douglass Library) , Jill Morrow (RUL-Carr Library), Cassandra Oliveras-Moreno (Mason Gross Visual Arts), Amanda Presler (RUL-Alexander Library), Amee Pollack (Mason Gross Visual Arts), Lorraine Slavik (RUL-Alexander Library), Jacqui Tasker (RUL-Art Library), Jeff Teichmann (RUL-Alexander Library), Lily Todorinova (RUL-Douglass Library), Kelly Worth (RUL-Douglass Library), and Darryl Vorhees (RUL-Alexander Library). My apologies if I have left a name off this report, please let me know.

Last but not least thank you to the Freedom to Read Foundation and the American Library Association for supporting projects like these and for continuing to fight for our rights to intellectual freedom.

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