DePauw celebrates reading freedom

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series has faced controversy from groups that would like to see the books banned.

GREENCASTLE -- DePauw University did its part for National Banned Books Week, which ran Sept. 26-Oct. 3, by hosting a Banned Books Read-Out at the Roy O. West Library on Oct. 1.

During the event, faculty members, librarians, and community members read passages of favorite banned or challenged books.

"Librarians have a primary focus," said Anastasia Wells, a librarian at DePauw. "That focus is making information accessible. Taking away this information is hard on our jobs, especially for public libraries."

Her goal during National Banned Books Week, Wells said, was to encourage DePauw students to read banned books and to help them realize they had to make sure no information is stolen or taken away from them.

National Banned Books Week began in 1982 when there was a sudden rise in the number of books being banned or challenged.

Thanks to librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of communities, a majority of the books were not banned. If the person or group who wants to ban a book's intention is to deny access to ideas that they disagree with, it is a violation of the First Amendment.

This is why most books people attempt to ban stay on library and bookstore shelves.

"Libraries are place where information is available. (Books) shouldn't be banned," said Rick Provine, director of libraries at DePauw. "The reason for book banning is that people or groups feel threatened by a book's words, illustrations, or ideas. They want to protect their children."

Read-Out attendee Aaron Dziubinskyj felt very passionately about book banning.

"Banning is a form of censorship," he said. "Ideas should not be censored, they should be embraced."

Classic books that have been banned include "Of Mice and Men," J.D. Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye," Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird," Mark Twain's "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn," and Alice Walker's "The Color Purple."

Some popular modern books being banned are J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series, Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," the children's book "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, the "Gossip Girls" series by Cecily von Ziegesar and "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.

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