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Collaboration written on library walls

Tom Olsen sets up new displays
Tom Olsen (English) sets up the month-long banned books display at the Sojourner Truth Library

The collaborative efforts of the English Department and the Sojourner Truth Library have produced an exhibit on banned books.

"Banned, Censored, Challenged" celebrates Banned Book Week (Sept. 29-Oct. 6) and is on display in the Sojourner Truth Library's gallery through Nov. 11. The project is one of many such exhibits Morgan Gwenwald, library outreach coordinator, would like to showcase.

Since Oct. 15, the 22 display cases in the main corridor of the library have featured images and information about censored literary works. Large-scale images of book covers, photographs of authors and captions recount the tales of such books as "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis, "Ulysses" by James Joyce and "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle.

Tom Olsen, chair of the English Department, and Gwenwald organized the exhibit and 21 English Department faculty members each wrote a short essay about a banned title or author.

Participant Vicki Tromanhouser (English) said the collaboration between the departments was very productive.

"All sorts of new connections emerge when we think about books not only in terms of their content," she said.

Library staff members Heather Whalen Smith, reference librarian, and Erin Barnard, Inter- Library Loan clerk, worked with the faculty to create the displays. Whalen Smith researched and collected data, and Barnard designed the exhibit's 42-page catalog, which was printed by the Office of Design and Printing Services. Work Study student Terra Thompson '10 (Journalism) assisted the library staff.

Olsen said the dedication of Gwenwald and the library staff made the project the "perfect collaborative college experience."

Gwenwald is looking for informative and interesting topics for display. She said the gallery space is booked months in advance. So it is important to plan ahead.

For information or to suggest a topic, contact Gwenwald at x3677 or