Banned Books Week, which occurs from Sept. 25 through Oct. 1, is a week-long promotion of both intellectual freedom and awareness about the continuing trend to challenge library and school books across the nation.
The event’s featured books have been restricted in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the celebration centers around the availability of books as a result of the efforts of librarians, teachers, students and other community members who speak out for the freedom to read.
April Hannah, Director of Academic Information Resources, said, “The national event has been official since the early 1980s. While I have not always done a promotion every year at Loyola, I have created several displays and a number of contests for students to commemorate the week.”
Hannah plans to observe the week by displaying popular banned books in the library. She said schools are the place where book banning is the biggest problem.
Although many support the banning of books, Hannah, along with many other librarians, finds the limitation of novels to be more deleterious than beneficial. She said, “Like many librarians, I believe that our rights as Americans begin with the freedom to read and speak, to think critically and the freedom of expression.”
Books have never been banned at Loyola, according to Hannah. However, concerns have arose as to why certain genres are not included in the library’s collection. “I have received a couple of questions in the past about the choice to include the genre of Graphic Novels in our collection. However, that was a long time ago and the parties involved came to an understanding,” Hannah said.
J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”, a novel that has been banned by several schools across the nation, continues to be taught to freshman at Loyola. English teacher Terry Caldwell said the novel “is often misunderstood due to readers who do not know how to read and interpret a first person narrative point of view piece of fiction.”
Additionally, Principal Frank Kozakowski opposes the banning of books as he “[believes]in a free press and [opposes]censorship.”
Kozakowski said, “When free thought is squelched by the ‘burning’ of books, we lose what it is to be fully human.”