Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read

This week is Banned Books Week, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read, bringing together a wide range of people. This year’s exhibit is displayed on the first floor of Halle Library near the computer area and will be on display until Oct. 3.

This week helps to share with the dedicated readers and the academic world about the importance and beauty of reading. Although this is a celebration, it also serves as a warning and to raise awareness about censorship in society. Censorship has led to the banning of several books in both public and private settings and many individuals have strong opinions on the matter.

Book burnings are a harsh way of censoring what people have access to and by “banning books” they are trying to control what people are exposed to on a lesser scale. However the difference here is that banning books does not destroy them and make them go away.

“People are going to expose themselves to ideas one way or another. We can’t hide books because the general population isn’t fond of or is offended by them…. Unless the content is legitimately detrimental to people’s minds, we really shouldn’t bother to ban books,” said Lindsay Roedding, a junior majoring in biology.

These actions of censoring have led to creating events and campaigns such as Banned Books Week. Halle Library’s exhibition highlights a number of books that have been deemed inappropriate or too controversial. There are also many pamphlets of information spread along the table for students to look through. Among the banned books are quite a few familiar titles such as “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou and even “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss.

Hearing the titles of some of the banned books is surprising. However, dedication by many different individuals have kept these books accessible. This dedication is usually motivated by the love to read and the determination to keep the freedom of reading alive. Reading allows us to explore different worlds and lives without ever having to leave our seat and that is why it is important to fight to maintain the freedom of reading.

For more information about Banned Books Week and about banned books in general you can contact the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom at bbw@ala.org. You can also click on the “Banned Book Week Exhibit” link on the EMU event calendar to read even more about this.

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By Leaha Dotson / The Eastern Echo

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