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Intellectual Freedom: Banned Books Week: Let Freedom Read!

This event is sponsored by SU Libraries and Wicomico County Public Library.

BBW Event Information

Banned Books Week (October 1-7, 2023) is a yearly event which spotlights historical and current attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. Our Banned Book Week Event calls attention to current efforts to censor books, the impact such efforts have, and underscores the importance of the freedom to read. When you register, you may choose to join us in-person or virtually.

DATE: Friday, October 6, 2023, 2:00 - 6:00 PM

AGENDA: See below.

In-Person: The Dr. Ernie Bond Curriculum Center (CRC) is located on the second floor of Conway Hall, Room 226, closest to the Tower Entrance. Conway Hall is located at the corner of S. Salisbury Blvd (BUS RT-13) and West College Ave.
     Parking: Visitors MUST register for a Visitor Parking Permit. The pass may be obtained free of charge online through the Parking Portal.
     Building Access: All campus buildings are locked. Visitors will be escorted into buildings by event personnel.

Virtual: Once you register, you will receive a Zoom participation link.

**Registration is needed for all attendees, in-person and virtual.**



Speaker Bios

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Kelly Jensen

Kelly Jensen is an editor at Book Riot, the largest independent book website in North America. She covers all things young adult literature and has written about censorship for nearly ten years. She is the author of three critically-acclaimed and award-winning anthologies for young adults on the topics of feminism, mental health, and the body. She was named a person of the year in 2022 by Publishers Weekly and a Chicagoan of the year in 2022 by the Chicago Tribune for her anti-censorship work. She has also earned commendation from the American Association of School Librarians for her censorship coverage. Prior to her work at Book Riot, she was a public librarian for children, teens, and adults in several libraries in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. She is currently enrolled in a clinical mental health counseling master's program to bolster her work with mental health.

Kelly Jensen headshot


Panel Moderator: Mr. Seth Hershberger

Seth Hershberger is the director of Wicomico Public Libraries. Previously, he worked for the U.S. State Department as a Public Diplomacy Professional Associate and Community Liaison Office Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Guyana. Before that he worked in a variety of positions in public libraries including for 10 years as Head of Public Services at Cass County Public Library in Missouri. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving for two years in Tonga. He earned his master's degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Missouri. He lives in Salisbury.



Panelist: Dr. Erin Stutelberg

Dr. Stutelberg coordinates, teaches, and supervises in the undergraduate and MAT secondary English education programs at Salisbury University. Prior to her career in higher education, she taught middle and high school English. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Critical Literacy and English Education, from the University of Minnesota in 2016. Her scholarship engages critical whiteness studies and intersectional feminist theories to study literacy practices, teacher identity, and teacher education. 

Dr. Erin Stutelberg

Panelist: Ms. Ashley Teagle

Ashley Teagle is the CEO of the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association (SMRLA). She is originally from Salisbury, MD and relocated to Southern Maryland to pursue a career in public libraries. Ashley has her B.A. in English & Communications Arts from Hood College (Frederick, MD) and a Master’s of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Ashley’s prior experience includes a variety of positions with the Charles County Public Library (MD) system. She was the Executive Director of the Wicomico Public Libraries (MD) in Salisbury, MD prior to joining SMRLA.

Ashley’s professional interests include digital equity, intellectual freedom, and developing inclusive libraries.

Ashley is active in a number of professional organizations including:

  • American Library Association
  • Black Caucus of the Maryland Library Association Founding Member and Membership Committee Co-Chair
  • Library Associate Training Institute (LATI) Oversight Committee
  • Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators President
  • Maryland Library Association Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Panel Co-Chair
  • Maryland Library Association Executive Board Member
  • Maryland Library Association Legislative Panel Member
  • Maryland Library Association Library Leadership Training Committee Co-Chair
  • Public Library Association Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships Committee Chair

Ashley has a passion for libraries and enjoys telling anyone who will listen about how awesome they are!

Panelist: Ms. Emma Cohn

Emma Cohn Matthews is a high school English teacher in Wicomico County and is starting her sixth year teaching. She earned her undergraduate degree in English Secondary Education and a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Salisbury University. Emma currently chairs her school's English Department and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team. Outside of the school day, Emma can be found at the after-school program tutoring or advising her school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club. Emma has also filled the role of a mentor teacher for the last three years, working with Salisbury University’s Regional Professional Development Schools (RPDS) program. Emma has continued her studies by beginning the process of becoming Nationally Board Certified in Adolescence and Young Adulthood/English Language Arts.

Emma Cohn

Panelist: Ms. Allison M. Jennings-Roche


Panelist: Teen Panelists



Event Agenda


  2:15-2:30 p.m. - Gather at the S. Salisbury Blvd entrance of the Guerrieri Academic Commons (GAC) for an escorted tour. Tour starts at 2:30 p.m.
  2:30-2:45 p.m. - Gather at the Conway Hall Tower entrance for escort to the Dr. Ernie Bond Curriculum Resource Center if you do not want the GAC tour.
  2:45-3:15 p.m. - Refreshments and Conversations
  3:15-4:15 p.m. - Keynote speakers - Kelly Jensen
  4:15- 4:30 p.m. - Poster contest display
  4:30-5:30 p.m. - Panelists - Dr.Erin Stutelberg, Ms. Emma Cohn, Ms. Ashley Teagle, Allison Jennings-Roche Moderator: Mr. Seth Hershberger  
  5:30-5:45 - Closing Remarks

Keynote Publications

Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022

Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022

Censorship by the Numbers

Censorship by numbers 2022 Let Freedom Read banner

WCPL Art Contest