October 01, 2010
Week designated to commemorate controversial and racy banned books
According to the American Library Association (ALA) website, Banned Books Week is a yearly event "celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment." Banned Books Week, normally held annually during the last week of September, "reminds us of the importance of our First Amendment rights" by calling attention to the numerous books that have been banned or are currently banned because of their material.
This year the Literature Club is taking part in Banned Books Week. According to the Literature Club president, junior William Hoffacker, the club will be hosting a variety of events. On Sunday, Oct. 3, Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing Randy Robertson will lead the annual Censorship Discussion.
Susquehanna does not ban books, in fact, it encourages Banned Books Week. Public Services Librarian Cindy Whitmoyer said that for the past two years, the Blough-Weis Library has had a display featuring a list of books banned from the American Library Association (ALA).
The display also has some of the listed banned books exhibited on the shelves with yellow index cards next to them, featuring information such as when and why the books were challenged or banned.
"I can't imagine living in a society where we couldn't read what we wanted to," Whitmoyer said.
According to bannedbooks-week.org, this celebration of freedom and literature was started in 1982, when people questioned the material from certain books being taught in classrooms, and objected to these books being readily available in bookstores and libraries.
Since then, more than a thousand books have been challenged, including classics like "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain, as well as modern favorites like the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.
According to bannedbooks-week.org, more than 450 challenges were reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom during 2009.
During Banned Books Week, hundreds of libraries and bookstores across the country set up displays that help depict the problems many have with censorship.
Many libraries and bookstores also host a variety of events during the week such as guests speakers, group discussions about the future of banned books and readings of banned books.
According to the ALA website, "The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections."
Teachers, librarians and booksellers nationwide continue to fight against the banning of books, and bannedbooksweek.org encourages more people to get involved.
Some ideas include asking community members to sign a support poster, holding a Banned Books Week Essay Contest, writing to your local paper or inviting authors of banned books for book signings at your local library or bookstore.
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