Kent State Library hosts Banned Books Week display

Adrienne Savoldi

The Kent State library will be bringing awareness to the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week. ?

Librarian Adam Steele said there will be a banned books display by the elevators in the library, as well as bookmarks showing the top 10 banned books, and September 30 the Kent State Freethinkers will have more information available in the Student Center.

Held September 25 through October 2, Steele said this will be the first time the library sponsors this event.


“As far as I know there have never been any banning or challenges in Kent, but the more libraries (that) participate puts (the word) out,” he said.


Steele said the American Library Association began Banned Books Week as a means to show society that book challenges and bannings, traditionally associated with book burnings in the 1930s and 1940s, still occur. Steele also said that when schools and libraries ban certain books, it is like “they are trying to have say in what other people’s children can read.” ?

The ALA’s website defines a book challenge as “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group” and a banning as “the removal of those materials.”

The website also lists some of the most commonly banned books, including “Harry Potter,” “Of Mice and Men,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Bridge to Terabithia.” ?

Senior business major Natalie Capron claimed she doesn’t read much, but she was still shocked by some of the books on the list.

“‘Of Mice and Men,’ really? I read that when I was in middle school,” Capron exclaimed. ?

Capron is not the only astonished one. Freshman history major Robert Pauley was amazed to find “The Outsiders” was included on the list. ?

“I could see why some of them would be banned just because they’re not politically correct,” he said. ?

To Steele, however, the banned books list is anything but shocking.

“None of them ever surprise me,” Steele said. “With any book that’s been challenged or banned you can always kind of see why some person somewhere would be offended by it.” ?

The ALA mentions the top three reasons for book challenges and bannings include being sexually explicit, offensive language and unsuited to any age group. ?

Steele’s favorite book on the banned book list is “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson, about two gay penguins who raise a baby girl penguin. ?

“To me as a librarian and trained as an English teacher, books are the most inconsequential way to get things out there. Unless you actively pick up and [read a book] there’s no reason why it should offend you,” said Steele.