Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reactions to the Library's Banned Books Display

Many students expressed interest in the Library's display for Banned Books Week, as well as feelings of anger, frustration and confusion. After spotting a favorite childhood book in the display, many students asked, "Why would someone want to ban that book?" Others were simply unsure as to whether they were allowed to sit in that section! The Library staff is pleased that students have responded to the display, and appreciate the chance to have a conversation with all of our patrons about banned and challenged books. We invited students to leave their opinions (anonymously) at the display. One student (or professor, staff member, community member?) summed up his/her feelings this way:

"It depends on the contents of such books. If a book advocates ideas that are detrimental to society's peaceful co-existence, it should be proscribed. But if a book is based on fact and it advocates a change for a better world, such a book should not be banned. There should be set criteria for banning books. But who are those who must set the criteria? For instance, banning the Bible from public libraries does not make sense to me, unless if we consider the contents of the Bible to be dangerous and subversive. This is just one example out of several others. Truth should prevail, no matter whose ox is gorred [sic]. I wish I had space enough to express my views on this sensitive matter."

At this point, the author of this quotation ran out of room on the tiny slip of paper. But the Library staff wants you to know that you do have more space to share your opinions about this issue: right here on SpartaBlog! One student has already commented on our original Banned Books Week entry, so we are hoping that others may want to discuss the issue as well. At the bottom of this entry, there should be a link that says either 0 comments or # comments. Click there and add your opinion. You can sign in with your own Blogger account or just type an anonymous comment. Here are some questions to consider:
  • What was your initial reaction after seeing the Banned Books Week display?

  • What book(s) were you surprised to see included in the display?

  • How do you feel about banning books? Do you agree or disagree?

  • Who should be in charge of banning books? Parents, school boards, libraries, etc.?

  • Is there an aspect of challenging or banning books that you find unclear?

  • Would you like more information or resources about banned books?

Feel free to answer these questions, discuss the anonymous quote mentioned above, or just add any comment about the topic that you'd like to share. The more people add comments, the livelier the discussion will become! We look forward to hearing from you!

No comments: