A stand against censorship


What do “Harry Potter,” “Harriet the Spy” and “Twilight” have in common?

Many students would guess not much, but all of the above books can be found on the list of most frequently banned and challenged books of the last decade.

The department of English, K-State Libraries and the students of Sigma Tau Delta, an English honorary, work together to host a showcase event featuring several banned or challenged books. This event has been taking place since 2006, during American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. This year’s event began Monday and will continue through Friday.

According to the Office of Intellectual Freedom, there are many specific reasons why books are banned, but the top three reported are: inappropriate language, sexually explicit material and being “unsuited to any age group.”

Many famous, classic novels — some of which are required reading in many high school English curriculums — are part of the list of banned and challenged books. For example: “The Great Gatsby,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Color Purple” and “Gone with the Wind.”

“It’s important to raise awareness of the dangers of censorship and banning books,” said Naomi Wood, associate professor of English. “When books are censored and banned, too often it means that information is being suppressed. Often, individuals want to prevent everyone from accessing information that perhaps only they and a few people like them find objectionable.”

On the lawn south of Hale Library, readings of the most frequently banned and challenged books of the last decade will be held daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to the readings, a display will be set up in Hale, featuring the top 10 banned or challenged books of 2010. Approximately 15 minutes worth of each book or novel will be read.

“A reader can get through two to three picture books, but longer books will obviously need to be excerpted,” Wood said.

Daniel Ireton, undergraduate and community services librarian and assistant professor for Hale, said there will be a variety of selections read to accommodate the interests of as many people as possible, and he hopes that people will stop by during their lunch break to listen to the readings.