Banned Book Week celebrates freedom to read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Photo by Brooke Morrill

Banned Book Week is celebrated at libraries and bookstores all across the United States hoping to draw additional attention to the problem of censorship.

Ryan Dangerfield | Assistant Features Editor | @ryandanger23

Banned Books Week is the nation’s opportunity to celebrate the freedom to read. Bookstores and libraries this week are hosting a variety of events and displays of challenged books.

Banned Books Week began in 1982 and since then more than 11,000 books have been challenged according to the American Library Association. In most cases, the books have remained available to rent due to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members.

Some books that have previously been flagged have been added back into libraries and are now used for lecture in junior or high schools and colleges in the United States. Some of these previously banned books include: “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and “The Great Gatsby.”

The week seeks to cause awareness of the issue of censorship, which is still relevant today. In 2013, over 300 books, including “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “The Hunger Games,” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” were victims of attempted bans or restrictions in libraries across the nation.

The books may have been taken out of some libraries this year, but this may not have had a huge impact on readership. However, it does leave open for debate the question: How much can the voices of other people be censored before the future is impacted?

I believe that eliminating “The Hunger Games” from libraries will not stop anyone from reading or viewing it. There is nothing in “The Hunger Games,” “Captain Underpants,” or several other books being reported that children or adults cannot see easily elsewhere in society.

Lingerie commercials, death, offensive language, religious viewpoints are everywhere on television, videogames, and society as reflected by the news.

I believe it parents should try to control the level of graphic content their own children are exposed to. However, I do not believe it is fair for parents to stop all children from experiencing the world of fantasy and action books just because they disagree with their children reading it.

The world is running rampant with people believing they can completely control their environment. They need to look around, realize society has changed, and understand that some of the things that were once viewed as unacceptable a hundred, fifty, or even twenty years ago may now be viewed as acceptable.

I can understand wanting to cling to the past. However, I ask that people think about the opinions of others before they attempt to ban books from a library. Control your children and yourself, let others control what they and their children can read or see. 

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