Sept. 23-28, was Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrated by the entire book community including librarians, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers in support of the freedom to read. This week also recognizes the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) maintains a list of books that have been targeted with removal or have been restricted in libraries and schools; these publications are featured during Banned Books Week. The OIF also compiles the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of the year in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. This year, one of the books, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007), is featured in the banned books display in the lobby of the McNichols Campus Library.
Library Events Coordinator Karla Aikens explained that this book has been banned because it deals with suicide, depression, sexual assault and substance abuse. The novel’s protagonist, Hannah Baker, recorded a number of tapes in which she reveals 13 reasons why she no longer wants to live. Aikens pulls a quote from the book: “No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people.”
The exhibit continues in the McNichols Campus Library this week, so stop by and check out a banned book.