Public readings mark Banned Books Week

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In conjunction with the American Library
Association’s Banned Books Week, Hale Library and Sigma Tau Delta will be
holding readings of banned or challenged books every day this week in Bosco Student Plaza at 12 p.m. The
readings began Monday and will run through Friday.

“We need to recognize that these books
need to remain available,” said Daniel Ireton, undergraduate and community
services librarian at Hale.

The books read Tuesday included “The Perks of Being A
Wallflower,” “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” and a collection of scary
stories.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Steven Chbosky has been banned and challenged in schools due to its depiction of sex, homosexuality and rape.

“It’s relevant to this age group, and even
though the book is about 10 year old, it’s being reintroduced as a
movie,” said Stephanie Viola, acquisitions librarian, of the novel.

Another book banned for its portrayal of
homosexuality is “Annie on My Mind,” which Megan Deppner, graduate student in
English, read excerpts from on Tuesday.

“Clearly, people have the right to free
speech, and that includes books,” Deppner said. “Language and
homosexuality don’t need to be banned, but you have to be careful when you get
into books that are anti-American or terrorist books.”

Viola shared a similar view on censorship.

“Art and artists shouldn’t be
censored,” Viola said. “There is a voice in each book that someone
can relate to. Books have a specific audience and those books can be helpful to
that audience.”

According to Ireton, on average, one
book a day is submitted to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom to be banned or challenged. Books can be banned or challenged for any reason, from containing a controversial viewpoint to being unsuitable for the intended audience.

“Books are not censored by the
government,” Ireton said. “They should be available to everyone.
Everyone should have the right to read.”

Banned Books Week is organized nationally to
promote this idea.

This year, the issue has been thrust to the
spotlight after a controversial ban on cultural studies was signed into law in
Arizona. The ban outlaws classes designed to teach minority students about
their heritage on the grounds that the knowledge could cause students to feel
resentment towards the government. Ireton described the ban, which removes
several cultural books, including Rudolfo Anaya’s “Bless Me, Ultima,” as “disturbing.”

Other popular banned and challenged books
include “Water for Elephants,” the “Gossip Girl” series and “Romeo and Juliet.”

There are currently no banned books at K-State, Ireton said, though a few books that are a part of curriculum have been
challenged in the past. Ireton said that the banning of books is not usually a problem
at universities.

The readings of banned and challenged books
will continue through the end of the week. 

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