Iowa City Public Library's Intellectual Freedom Festival highlights banned children's books

The Iowa City Public Library. (file photo)
The Iowa City Public Library. (file photo)

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Public Library will celebrate freedom of thought and expression this week with its annual 2017 Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival, which begins today.

The festival is named for former librarian Carol Spaziani in honor of her lifelong commitment to the freedom of ideas.

All the events will be held at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., except Brooke Gladstone, which will take place at the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. All events are free.

The Intellectual Freedom Festival includes the following:

l Sunday Fun Day: Kids Blackout Poetry and Very, Very Short Stories, 2 to 4 p.m. today, Storytime Room: Create an original poem or extremely short story using a single page from a book by blocking out the rest of the text around the words you want to keep.

l Totally Tweens — Upcycled Book Art, 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday and 4 to 5 p.m. Sept. 25, Storytime Room: Working alone or in pairs, tweens will transform a used book into a work of art. Tweens will have two library sessions over the course of a week to complete the project. All of the book art will be displayed with artists’ statements in the library’s display case.

l Preschool Banned Books Storytime, 10:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday and Sept. 27, Storytime Room: This special story time will feature classic books that have been challenged.

l Brooke Gladstone, 2 to 3 p.m. Sept. 24, The Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City: Brooke Gladstone of WNYC’s On the Media and author of “The Trouble with Reality” will give a presentation about fake news and the media. She will be joined by Lyle Muller, executive director of, the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism.


l Sunday Fun Day — “Where the Wild Things Are,” 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 24, Storytime Room:

l Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, begins. “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak, was challenged because of its inclusion of “witchcraft and supernatural elements.” Make a Wild Thing paper bag puppet and Max mask at Sunday Fun Day.

l Political Poems — The Power of Words, noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 27, Meeting Room A: Members of the Iowa City Johnson County Senior Center’s Reading Aloud group will read political poetry. The poems deal with many political issues — censorship, war, slavery — with particular focus on the plight and dreams of immigrants.

l Short Film Festival, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 28, Storytime Room: Preschoolers will watch several animated shorts of frequently banned or challenged picture books.

l For more information, visit or contact the library at (319) 356-5200.



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