Own Voices

April 22 @ 7:00 pm

Event Details

Everyone is invited to a new, free, virtual speaker series called #OwnVoices. This kick-off event focuses on what do “we” (parents, teachers, librarians, communities) do now after we have learned that Dr. Seuss’ six books that contain hurtful racial imagery will no longer be published.

An amazing panel of literary professionals will share their reactions to the news stories, what their professions do next, and what they have been doing all along. Panelists include: Rita Christensen (Incoming President, Utah Library Association & Children’s Librarian, Orem Public Library), Andrew Shepard (Assistant Professor of African American Literature, University of Utah, English Department), and Andy Zalot (Doctoral student, Information Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign).

What is #OwnVoices hashtag? #OwnVoices first started as a hashtag on Twitter by Corinne Duyvis to encourage readers to recommend books about diverse populations, written by authors that belong to that same diverse community. The purpose of #OwnVoices is to have authentic, personal stories told by those who have first-hand knowledge of being part of marginalized groups.

Zoom or Facebook Live


More about the panelists:

Rita Christensen
Rita Baguio Christensen is a Children’s Librarian at the Orem Public Library. She has gained significant management experience in nearly every aspect of librarianship and has been part of the changing landscape of public and academic libraries. She has helped libraries transition from card catalogs to online catalogs, shift from reading rooms only to engaging community hubs, and has introduced blended learning experiences to traditional face-to-face library instruction classrooms. Christensen serves on the American Library Association ALSC Children and Technology Committee, the Children’s Literature Association of Utah Picture Book Committee, and the Utah Library Association Executive Board as President-Elect. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal.

Andrew Shepard
W. Andrew Shephard is an Assistant Professor of African American Literature in the University of Utah’s Department of English. His research focuses on modes of genre fiction such as science fiction, fantasy, and horror, as they intersect with questions of race, gender, and sexuality, and the ways in which marginalized peoples utilize the conventions of genre to address concerns specific to their communities. His current research project, titled “‘Temples for Tomorrow’: African American Speculative Fiction and Historical Narrative”, investigates black authors’ uses of science fiction and fantasy as a means of working through a vexed relationship to history and laying the foundation for a more utopian future.

Andrew Zalot
Andrew Zalot is a 1st year PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. His research interests are currently in book banning and young adult literature. His master’s thesis on Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why and experiences as a high school English teacher serve as the primary influences for his current work. He is most interested in examining community responses to book bannings and exploring the ways in which political ideologies and cultural values influence these responses.

Date: April 22 @ 7:00 pm
Time: 7:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Park City Library
1255 Park Avenue
Park City, Utah 84060
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