The Nicholson Library put on a display honoring Banned Books Week Sept. 24 through Oct. 1. The display featured information from Amnesty International, about three dozen frequently challenged books, free bookmarks with a list of 2010’s top 10 most frequently challenged books on them and free buttons sporting the slogan “I Read Banned Books.”
According to the Banned Books Week website, this event takes place every year during the last week of September. Banned Books Week is a national celebration of the freedom to read. It is sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Council of Teachers of English and several other organizations that are against censorship. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982. Since then, more than 11,000 books have been challenged.
“Banned Books Week is set aside for the purpose of reminding people that there are times when books, and other media, can be disturbing and some people decide to remove the material from access of others as a reaction,” librarian Jean Caspers said in an email.
The American Library Association website states that the books typically featured in Banned Books Week have been banned or targets of attempted banning. The purpose of the event is to bring attention to the importance of intellectual freedom and the harms of censorship.
Banned Books Week is an event that is celebrated all over the country and internationally.
“Many libraries and bookstores across the U.S. have Banned Books Week displays or activities,” Caspers said in an email. “In McMinnville, the public library has displays and so does the Third Street Bookstore.”
Caspers said that when someone requests that a book be removed from a library or put into a
restricted area, it is unusual that the book is moved.
“One person’s request that it be moved or restricted
is not honored since other people may wish to have the books available for themselves or their children,” Caspers said in an email. “It is more appropriate that a parent control what his or her own children read than an agency such as a library exert such control.”
Banned Books Week also highlights the importance of remembering that in
other countries, free speech is often restricted. The event reminds people not to take First Amendment rights for granted.
The Nicholson Library has a Banned Books Week display every other year.
“This year I was in charge of it,” Caspers said in an email. “Many of the books were checked out from the display. All of the ‘I Read Banned Books’ buttons were taken during the first two days. Most of the bookmarks were taken. I think many people did take time to see the display.”
For information about Banned Books Week, go to www.bannedbooksweek.org. For more information about Amnesty International, go to www.amnestyusa.org.
Sharon Gollery/Culture editor
Sharon Gollery can be reached at email@example.com.