Banned Books Week celebrates the right to read

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This week, libraries and book stores all over the country are observing Banned Books Week.

According to the Banned Books Week Coalition, it’s to spread awareness that our freedom to read is something to celebrate.

That’s why the Minot Public Library is holding an event titled, ‘fREADom, Libraries and Banned Books’ Monday, September 25 at seven PM.

It will include several speakers, including a North Dakota librarian who once had a book banned from her library.

KX News looked into why a book would be challenged to be banned from a library and some reasons might surprise you.

 “The freedom to read, the right to read, is still a privilege for us and that people in many countries don’t have that, we’re very luck to have that,” Minot Public Library Director Janet Anderson said.

She said that right to read has actually made it difficult to prove that a book should be outright banned from a collection – whether it be in a school, a bookstore, or a library.

Fiction or non-fiction, anyone can challenge a book’s place on the shelf.

In the past, that’s included books that involved racism, sexually explicit content, swear words, or violence.

“This book was challenged for being sexually explicit. This is “Jaws”, which many people know from the movie. It was considered sexually explicit and had obscene language so it was challeneged in a school in Georgia,” she explained. 
“This is “Christine” by Stephen King. It was challenged in libraries in Bismarck for a variety of different reasons including the horror element.”

Even children’s books have been challenged.

Alice in Wonderland was once banned in China because it put animals and humans on the same intellectual level.

When it comes down to it, Anderson said certain beliefs or opinions shouldn’t have power over our freedom to write and read.

Public schools pay respect to that, too.

(Susan Guldborg/DLB High School English Teacher) “We’re not going to learn anything about people or culture or society or ourselves if we just keep pushing these things under the rug and refusing to talk about them. It’s not going to go away by not allowing people to read these books,” DLB High School english teacher Susan Guldborg said.
 

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