DePauw Dean of Libraries Spending Week in a Fortress of Banned Books

Posted on September 28, 2015

Banned Books at Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

To celebrate Banned Books Week Rick Provine, the dean of libraries at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, is spending the week at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis where he sleeps behind a wall of banned books. His week in solitary can be viewed through the open windows of the library.

Dean Provine is locked in the library for 24 hours a day and is spending his time writing and reading. His first post for American Libraries Magazine reveals that he's doing just fine, although he finds it odd to be looked at through a window like a museum exhibit.

He writes about his evolution from a literature shunning teen to being a book activist. "At age 15, I would have happily seen John Milton banned, as would most of my classmates. We weren't the most enlightened bunch," he begins. But his sister changed his mindset. he explains, "But then my sister handed me a copy of Breakfast of Champions. The world changed for me that day. That book became something else to me -- something alive and beautiful, a message in a bottle, an alien communication from another world...at least from beyond Terre Haute, Indiana."

Dean Provine notes that the connection is very personal. For some people it's a great comic book, for some people it's the Bible or Nicholas Sparks or James Joyce. He says it doesn't matter what kind of literature you connect with -- what's important is that no one censors the wonderful world of books so that everyone can find his or her special connection.

He won't be alone, though. He will host discussions and book readings. Guest include DePauw President Brian W. Casey and Joseph Heithaus, professor of English and poet. So if you're near 340 N. Senate Avenue in Indianapolis, be sure to stop by to say hello and show your support. Today is Day 2, so he has five more days to go.

Photo: DePauw University

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