Library shows off the books others tried to ban

“The Fault in Our Stars” has been banned — but it’s not the only mainstream literary work that’s been challenged.

Many popular novels, including “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and “The Great Gatsby,” have been challenged.

Beginning Sept. 25, those books will be celebrated at the Keith Leftwich Memorial Library, during Banned Books Week. The event, library officials said, is a week to defend the right to read, while acknowledging the celebration of knowledge.

More than 135 banned or challenged books will display at library.

Circulation Librarian Ann Raia said for a novel to be considered banned, someone in America or around the world has found that book to be “controversial or inappropriate” and the library has decided to remove that book from their shelves.

“Books being banned does not happen as often today, but sometimes books do become challenged, meaning that someone has made a complaint against that book and the library disagreed with that complaint, so they kept the book,” Raia said.

Electronic Services-Reference Librarian Tricia Sweany said many students do not understand that books are challenged because of the content inside.

“Students will pick up a book and say, ‘why would someone want to challenge or ban “Harry Potter” or “The Hunger Games” or “Little House on the Prairie?’” Sweany said. “We get a lot of questions on what exactly a banned book is, so it’s a big eye opener when we have conversations about what exactly a banned or challenged book is.”

Sweany said raising awareness among students is what’s important about Banned Books Week.

Business Major Brian Tran thinks it is wrong to ban or challenge books.

“I think Banned Books Week is very interesting because it reminds us that we do not have the ultimate freedom to express ourselves,” he said. “Books are the foundation for our education and for them to be banned or challenged that would be counterintuitive towards students education, and I think we all should have the right to read and learn from that of which is trying to be hidden from us.”

English Professor Michael Snyder said censoring is a form of sheltering.

Snyder said studies have shown that literature allows for students to learn empathy. He said if a student is reading a novel about slavery or segregation they might be able to have more insight and understanding of those subjects and racism.

“Censorship is an impalement to education,” Snyder said. “Books that are being considered as banned or challenged should be looked at very carefully. Although, there are books that some consider really nasty, few might wonder if they have any redeeming features for them to be placed on the shelves of a library.”

Banned Books Week honors the First Amendment by highlighting the freedoms of expression.

Raia said she encourages students to stop by the display and look at the mini books with the reasons why that book was banned or challenged.

Students can check out these books with their student IDs for two weeks.

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