Banned Book Week
“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway” and “The Lord of The Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien are just a few of the critically acclaimed novels that were part of Banned Book Week here at Marist College. Banned Book Week is a national event that launched in 1982 and focuses on supporting free speech and access to books regardless of the controversy that may surround them. Every year the American Library Association (ALA) releases a list of books submitted by librarians and teachers nationwide that have been challenged for their content and themes.
This year, Marist decided to join in on event. Emily Doyle at the Marist College library said the primary attraction for students was the banned book reading in which students could read an excerpt from a book of their choice or one from the library’s own collection. This opportunity for students to share their favorite sections from books that are banned in many schools across the country garnered a considerable audience. The library also offered banned book bingo which where winners were offered the choice of candy or the chance to add a book of their choice to the Marist Library’s selection of banned books.
One particular feature of this event that really highlighted the deeper meaning of Banned Book Week was a set up where Banned Books were covered with labels of reasons for their being banned and students could lift the cover to reveal which novel hid beneath these claims. The labels included “too sexy” and “inappropriate” while underneath were American classics of literature banned because they push societal boundaries. According to Doyle students really enjoyed this part of the event and it was a big hit.
Banned Book Week has grown to be an incredibly successful event nationwide and Marist College joined the effort to bring students’ attention to censorship and freedom of speech in regards to the way they inform and entertain themselves through reading. The library looks forward to celebrating this event next year and looks for ideas or suggestions on how to make Banned Book Week even more impactful in future years.