Banned Books Symposium

In partnership with the Dutchess, Orange/Ulster, Sullivan, and Ulster School Library Systems, Mount Saint Mary College will host a Banned Books Symposium on Saturday, March 10, 2018 on the MSMC campus in Newburgh, NY. This half-day conference will feature presentations on all aspects of working with and responding to banned, challenged, and controversial books. Jay Asher, author of the best-seller 13 Reasons Why, will be the featured keynote speaker.

Registration for this event is $30 and includes breakfast and lunch. A book sale and signing will take place during the event.  Continuing education credit will be awarded to qualified teachers in the Hudson Valley who take part in the symposium. Click here to register for the Banned Books Symposium.

                                                                                 Program Schedule

                                                                              Registration: 8:30a-9:a

                                                                                  Welcome: 9a-9:15a

                                                                           Keynote Speaker: 9:15a-10a

                                                                               Session A: 10:15-11a

                                                                              Session B: 11:15a-12p

                                                                          Lunch/book signing: 12p-1p

Session Presentations

Breakout EDU to Inspire a Love of Reading. This hands-on EDU session revolves around the book Fahrenheit 451. In this scenario, Guy Montag hid a book in a room. He had too many books to burn was too tired to burn this one.  He decided to hide the book in order to prevent people from reading it. Or, could there be another reason he is hiding the book? Session participants will be be expected to participate in saving the hidden book from being destroyed. Presented by Sudha Narsipur, Library Information Specialist, Ossining High School.

Defending the Queens of King & King.  In 2004, a parent challenged a small, Orange County public library over the presence of King & King, a juvenile picture book. She called Sean Hannity to stir up action, too. Her complaints about this Dutch tale of a prince who marries a prince had an unintended effect: it united the library board to defend intellectual freedom. Join the director who got dragged into defending a book she doesn't even like for a first person account of what to do when challenges arise.Presented by Madelyn Folino, Library Director, Florida Public Library. 

Good Shall Triumph Over Evil.  Comics have persevered through a history of censorship as colorful as the costumes of their superheroes and villains. This presentation will journey from Fredrick Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent (1954), which sparked the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee hearings on juvenile delinquency and the creation of the Comics Magazine Association of America’s self-policing Comics Code Authority, to the present-day challenges—three graphic novels occupy space on 2016’s Top 10 Banned and Challenge Books list. In spite of (or, perhaps, because of) these challenges, the comics medium holds immense value as an educational tool to promote reading, to teach story structure and analysis, to address complex social issues, and even to improve grammar. Presented by Ronald Hayes, adjunct faculty of Literature and Composition, The Culinary Institute.

Shocking Revelations in the 21st Century.. oh no. In the 21st century it is shocking that books are still considered as challenged and/or banned; especially when we can turn on a television to view so much worse than what we can find within a book. This presentation will discuss experiences with titles such as 13 Reasons Why, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones. The presenter will further discuss lessons learned from these experiences. Presented by Karie Dolger, Director, Franklin-Essex-Hamilton School Library System.

Promoting Banned Books in the Library.  Showcasing a case study of how the New York City College of Technology, Ursula C. Schwerin Library has promoted banned books collection, this presentation will focus on how the library's social media and "blind" book display has played a role in exposing students to the controversies of censorship.  Presented by Junior Tidal, Web Services and Multimedia Librarian, New York City College of Technology.

The Pear Blossom Strength: A Year of Programming from Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God". Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” has been a powerful, hopeful, and culturally rich piece of literature for the past 80 years. A product of the Harlem Renaissance, this novel continues to inspire. As Director of an Army Library, the presenter must find creative, inexpensive, thought-provoking, and interesting programming. It is no simple task developing programming that entices active duty soldiers, retirees, family members, and civilian employees alike. It must all be free of charge to them as well. The Pear Blossoms Strength: A Year of Programming from Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" utilizes the major themes, motifs and symbols as the lynchpin for each program. Programming, events, projects, and fun ideas for patrons of every age with be provided. Presented by Yadira Payne, Director, Woodworth Consolidated Library.


Questions regarding this half-day symposium may be directed toward Jen Park, Assistant Librarian for Access and Outreach Services, at