Students and faculty of the Department of English are reading America’s most debated books this week for American Library Association’s Banned Books Week.
Every year, starting on the last Monday of September, libraries and other literature-based organizations celebrate the right to express themselves, even if that expression is against what is popular or generally respected, according to the American Library Association’s Web site.
Naomi Wood, associate professor of English, said the list encompasses about every genre of literature available to the public.
“Chances are that if you’ve ever enjoyed a book, it’s probably on the list,” she said.
Wood said the idea behind Banned Books Week is that at some point or another, parents of a student in kindergarten through 12th grade saw their child reading a book and called the material within the book “inappropriate,” often asking the school to ban the book.
An example is the idea of Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” which was banned for its portrayal of blacks in the early 1900s. Wood said she sees this as limiting students from viewing American culture in its completion.
“If your child is reading a book like that, present them with a book that shows a more modern example rather than banning it,” Wood said. “By just denying that part of history existed, you actually cause more problems.”
Susan Withee, adult services manager at the Manhattan Public Library, said the library also deals with the idea of banned books because of its status as a “public library.” However, it does not often have to actually ban books, which usually requires more than one person wanting the book to be banned.
“A request to have a book banned gets sent to us, then we send it to a board of individuals who each read it and judge it for themselves,” Withee said.
Laurel Littrell, head of general information services at Hale Library, said K-State students are not affected as much here by the list of banned books because Hale is considered a “research library.”
“I’ve never seen a request for one of our books to be removed,” she said.
Littrell said she feels very strongly about Banned Books Week, even though Hale is not as affected by it.
“Our cultural heritage is very important, and banned books are an attempt to keep people from learning about certain aspects of our history,” Littrell said.
Readings of books on the list are scheduled to take place every day this week in Bosco Student Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“The project will bring our store to the level required to meet the growth of Fort Riley.”