Written by Michelle Karbon, campus librarian
The students at Globe University-Appleton got an opportunity to learn about different books that were banned or challenged as part of Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week is a national week started by the American Library Association celebrating the freedom to read without repercussion. This week was designed to educate others on censorship and different consequences books had when banned or challenged.
From the American Library Association: Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association.
Students were given instructions about downloading a QR code reader onto their iPad, where they would then scan the various QR codes around campus. Each QR code gave a different title that was banned and an interesting history behind the book and why it was banned or challenged. Those students that completed the activity were then entered into a drawing for gift cards from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Half-Priced Books. There is also a display in the library showcasing banned books from throughout time.
Many surprised exclamations were overheard: “I didn’t know this book was banned!” and “But, this book is a classic. Why would it be banned?” There are many reasons a book is banned, ranging from violence to “unsuitable for age group,” which is the primary reason for many children’s and young adult books to be challenged in school libraries.
As the campus librarian, I’m always excited to be able to celebrate the freedom of information. So many times, information is limited and we have to go to great lengths to find it. The internet is making it easier every day to gain access to information, but celebrating Banned Books Week helps the students understand that not everyone has the same freedoms and books are still being challenged today.