(Photo: Getty Images)
By: Andrianna Veatch, Staff Reporter
Saturday, September 30th, wraps up the national observance of Banned Books Week, both here at Dayton Memorial Library and nationwide. According to the American Library Association, “Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers — in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."
While only a low percentage of books reach banned status, roughly ten percent, Banned Books Week continues to highlight high standards for literary freedom and foster awareness on how harmful censorship can be. For example, withholding information about such deep, but all too real topics as mental illness or suicide just because some readers find them offensive stunts the community’s ability to converse knowledgeably about them and take steps to address them.
“How else would someone be exposed to that? Learning about different experiences other than your own,” says Dawne Combe a librarian here at Regis.
Combe and her fellow librarians Courtney Drysdale and Kim O’Neill have provided valuable information and attention to the purpose behind this week, explaining that people’s own opinions can never become fully developed without some understanding of serious topics and the various viewpoints about them.
“Lack of a worldview leaves you living in a bubble,” adds O’Neill.
Banned Book Week celebrates those who fight for the right of free writing and reading, and maintains the momentum of growing diversity in the literary field by bringing it fully to light and defending it.
Book banning has always been a widespread practice: hundreds of years ago disapproved-of books, and authors, were burnt but today there is an extremely long and far more civilized process involved with getting a book banned. Through the efforts of librarians, teachers, and open-minded civilians, the Office for Intellectual Freedom devised a system of court assessment to meet the challenge, and handle the outcome in the way that is honorable and respectful to all parties involved.
The Librarians of Dayton Memorial Library offer one last piece of advice to students: “Keep reading banned books, and read diversely,” says Drysdale, “Become learned, because knowledge is power.”