Newspaper article News Sentinel

Knox County Public Library Hosts Expert Panel on Censorship

Newspaper article News Sentinel

Knox County Public Library Hosts Expert Panel on Censorship

Article excerpt

The Knox County Public Library hosted a panel discussion on the history and implications of censorship at Lawson McGhee Library on Sunday.

The discussion featured speakers from the Knox County School system and the University of Tennessee, as well as playwright Kenneth Jones, whose "Alabama Story" made began its run at UT's Clarence Brown Theatre on Wednesday.

Jones was joined by Cindy Welch, a professor at UT's School of Information Science, and Sarah Searles, the library and media services specialist for Knox County Schools.

The discussion focused on issues related to censorship in libraries and public, many of which were raised as central themes in Jones' play, and also covered the power of books to influence children and students.

The discussion was moderated by KCPL Assistant Director Nelda Hill, who opened the panel by praising Jones' play and by articulating the ancient roots of censorship.

"Since the beginning of time, since the first words were scratched on stone, books have been imbued with this power and sort of magic that has made people want to respond to them in surprising ways," Hill said.

Issues such as required readings of controversial books in schools, the relevance of profane language and the possibility of educators practicing self-censorship in their selection of assign readings dominated the discussion, as did the history of censorship of materials from the general public. …

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