The Gingrich Library held their 2nd Annual Banned Books Read-Out on the steps of the Library Monday, September 23rd from 1pm to 3pm. Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.
Library staff set out a table and offered bookmarks, buttons, Philly soft pretzels to anyone passing by. More than 20 students, faculty, and Albright College staff read passages from their favorite banned books such as “HOWL,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” A Wrinkle in Time, “The Golden Compass,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Like Water for Chocolate,” and “The Absolutely True Story of a Part-time Indian,” among many other titles.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. Over 464 challenges to literature were issued in 2012. Those books were generally challenged for featuring sex, racism or profanity inappropriate for certain age groups, according to The American Library Association website.
While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.