NORFOLK, Neb. – The Northeast Community College Library was among libraries across the country to join the American Library Association (ALA) in support of the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 27-Oct. 3. This year’s theme is “Censorship is a Dead End. Find Your Freedom to Read.”
Typically held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community - librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types - in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
Each year, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from library shelves and from classrooms. The OIF tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019. Overall, 566 books were targeted.
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.
“Free and open access to information is essential to all members of the book community, including educators and readers of all kinds,” said Mary Louise Foster, director of library services. “Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship and reminds us to enjoy our freedom to read.”
The Northeast library collection provides access to many banned books, including: 1984 by George Orwell, The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, among others. Many of the books are on display on tables in the library this week.
“We encourage you to stop in to check out one of these books or simply enjoy any book of your choosing this week or anytime in the future,” Foster said.
To learn more about Banned Books Week, go online to the American Library Association’s website at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned. To find out more as to what is offered through Northeast’s Library, log on to northeast.edu/library-resources.
Mary Louise Foster, director of Library Services at Northeast Community College (left), and Jennifer Ippensen, library technical services specialist, hold some of the books that are being highlighted this week during Banned Books Week. The Northeast Library was among libraries across the country to join the American Library Association to observe the week that spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.