Ellen & friends celebrate freedom to read during Banned Book Week

Walter the Farting Dog, Ellen the Librarian, & Cap'n Underpants

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States. Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings.  Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.  Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

Hawai‘i Family Portraits

On Wednesday, September 29th from 12 to 2 PM, the UH Maui College Library will host the opening reception for a the traveling photography exhibit: Hawai‘i Family Portraits.

Hawai‘i Family Portraits will be on display in the Library for public viewing, from September 20 through October 15, during Library hours (M-Th: 8am-6pm, Friday: 10am-4pm, closed weekends).

Hawai‘i Family Portraits is a project by the Equality Hawai‘i Foundation (with support from The Gill Foundation and Hawai‘i People's Fund) that invites viewers to take a journey with some of Hawai‘i’s families ... sharing their joys, tears, tragedies and triumphs as they negotiate life in The Aloha State.

The families in these photographs are unique. Daily, they face discrimination, denial of rights, rejection and persecution because of who they are or who they love.

They are parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) children. They are GLBT parents themselves, raising beautiful, vibrant children. They are GLBT couples, simply trying to build lives together. They are individuals, some abandoned or misunderstood by their biological families, finding safety and love with a chosen, extended ’ohana.

Although very different in their composition and experiences, these families are bound by a common thread ... a unifying sense of love, devotion and commitment that conquers all challenges.

Captured through the lens of professional photographer Mike Ang, these family portraits expand community’s definition of family ... an expansion that embraces, nurtures and celebrates all families in our state of Aloha.

The Hawai‘i Family Portraits display is presented at the UH Maui Library in conjunction with National Constitution Month. These portraits are being displayed alongside books and media that bring awareness to the contemporary issues surrounding constitutional rights.

For additional information about the exhibit at UH Maui College Library, please contact librarian Ellen Peterson.