Censorship Issues to Be Explored In UB Libraries Exhibit

By Mara McGinnis

Release Date: October 21, 1997

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- What do The Bible, "Little House on the Prairie," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," the Bob Dylan song "Rainy Day Woman," and the painting of "The Last Supper" all have in common?

They are just a few examples of the many famous books, music and art that have been targets of censorship in the United States. While censorship limits the flow of ideas, a traveling exhibit called "Burning Issues: The Heated Debate Over Censorship" will visit the University at Buffalo to expand knowledge and stimulate inquiry on the controversial subject.

Beginning Nov. 1 and running through Dec. 20, "Burning Issues" will be on display in Lockwood Memorial Library and the Charles B. Sears Law Library, both on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Created by the Free Library of Philadelphia, the presentation of the exhibit at UB will be made possible by the New York Civil Liberties Union, Nassau County Chapter. Support for the exhibit is provided by The University Libraries and The New York Civil Liberties Union, Western New York Chapter.

The exhibit is intended to be a basic introduction to some of the most visible censorship controversies in contemporary America, such as book banning, record labeling, pornography issues, art censorship, film editing and Internet filtering. "Burning Issues" is intended to stimulate individuals to open their minds to both sides of the issue.

The wide scope of the exhibit is comprised of text, photographs and illustrations, books, documents and famous quotes. Some of the material featured as the target of censorship in the exhibit are works that some consider classic, such as Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales," Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye," Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" and Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind."

Besides displaying targets of censorship, the exhibit will explore how censorship is defined. For example: Is it censorship when the government denies grant money to artists whose proposed projects are controversial, or when the U.S. Armed Forces ban reporters from secret military maneuvers?

Topics and exhibits displayed in the Lockwood exhibit will include an introduction featuring the First Amendment, censorship of classics, Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer," sexuality, community standards and schools, autobiographies, television violence, art, music and comic books. The law library portion of the exhibit will cover such topics as defining censorship, computers and the Internet, creationism/evolution, films and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Normal library hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-9 p.m.