By MingJun Hou SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — This week is known as Banned Book Week, established by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1982. Syracuse Soule Branch Library is holding a display, named “Shine A Light On Censorship,” to celebrate academic and literary freedom. According to library staff member Adriana Sotolongo, the purpose of Banned Book Week is to encourage people to freely choose what they like to read. The display is also trying to deliver a standpoint to the public.
“The idea that we really push forward to our public is just public libraries don’t censor or try not to censor,” Sotolongo said.
Soule Branch Library has held Banned Book Week for three years. However, Sotolongo points out that this year’s display is different from previous years. Before, they didn’t closely connect the display with that year’s theme from the American Library Association. But this year’s display perfectly aligns the theme of “Keep The Light On.”
Library staff member Amy Bader said that they are using invisible ink and yellow cards to write why those displayed books are being banned. These “blank” yellow cards will be put next to their corresponding books. In this way, people can be more involved in this activity.
Based on the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, the American government has no right to ban any book. As a result, banned book lists are usually made by civilian entities. Moreover, the main reason for people to ban books is to protect teenagers from some “unhealthy” books. According to Sotolongo, the process of banning a book usually is that any organization or individual can challenge the library if they consider certain books are unsuitable for children. After a series of rigorous hearing and review procedures, the library will remove the book if the result shows that this book may cause bad influences on children.
Actually, books can be banned for any reasons, including sex, violence, and even some funny reasons. You may be shocked that Harry Potter, the classic kids’ book, is also listed as a banned book for many years. Sotolongo said the biggest reason for Harry Potter being banned is that it contains witchcraft.
Banned Book Week encourages teenagers to read these so-called “banned books.” It is not to completely deny the importance of censorship. In fact, Banned Book Week is trying to warn people that baning should be kept within a reasonable limit.