This year, Banned Books Week is from September 27 – October 3. The purpose of this event, begun in 1982 by the American Library Association, is to highlight what books are challenged or banned in schools and libraries each year. The event also serves to celebrate the freedom to read and freedom from censorship. This fall, I worked with Dr. Alan Brown and his EDU 231 class which focused on censorship. The class visited ZSR Library and I went over why some materials are challenged and some of the key issues in attempts to challenge various books.
The class selected a banned book from the ALA list and wrote a short paragraph about the censorship of their book and why it is considered worthwhile literature. This was a great chance to get students in touch with our collections in an intimate way. Each student identified a book in our collections and spent time in ZSR perusing the stacks, locating their selected book and writing about it. An exhibit always creates interest from our patrons. As I was installing this exhibit, one of the books I had set out beside a student write-up, The Giver by Lois Lowry, disappeared. I hope you get the chance to read what these students wrote in the Banned Books Week exhibits.
ZSR Library is also asking our staff to select banned books and discuss or read a selection from the book they selected. Readings from Tanya Zanish-Belcher and Mary Beth Lock are available. Check these out on Instagram!