Published in The Snapper the week of September 27.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. To Kill a Mockingbird. A Clockwork Orange. The Harry Potter series.
Some of our most renowned and treasured pieces of literature have been banned from high schools and universities due to their content and the overall message these books intend to convey.
Though many works of literature have been contested throughout the years, it may fall to the wayside that there are books and novels still being banned from schools.
According to the Banned Books Week Coalition, the top debated book was John Green’s “Looking for Alaska,” which was deemed inappropriate for the age group due to the sexual content and offensive language.
Millersville, however, is a school that embraces the material that others may find offensive. There is a National Banned Books week that runs from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, and to celebrate, Millersville is offering their second-annual interpretation on what this week should bring.
“We’re hoping that, through our Banned Books Week events, the Millersville community will be more aware of what may be happening in their local libraries and schools, and be ready to lend their voice and take a stand to defend controversial books and everyone’s right to read them,” said Adjunct Research Librarian Elizabeth Nelson.
Students, faculty and staff find this week important to highlight the long-cherished pieces of literature deemed “unsuitable” for age groups. Moreover, this just provides a forum for public conversation about what’s right and wrong in the literary world.
“Banned materials tend to tackle topics that people are afraid to talk about,” said English major Tara Zellam. “Issues of racism, sexuality, oppression, depression, societal constraints, and anti-establishment are things people should be aware of. They need to be talked about.”
While people seemingly have good intentions when it comes to banning a book in a library, Nelson insisted that it’s not something she feels should be done.
“Personally, I don’t think it is ever acceptable to ‘ban’ a book – by which I mean, to remove the book or the ability to access the book entirely from all members of the school, community, or institution,” Nelson said. “No one, parent, administrator or community member, should be able to decide what everyone else is allowed to read.”
Nelson continued, “Instead of trying to prevent others from reading a book that they find controversial, we believe that book-challengers should simply exercise their own right not to read that book.”
Banned Books Week does not aim to make people uncomfortable by making them read books they have no interest in. “Rather, it’s about making sure that everyone has the ability to make their own decisions about what they read and when,” Nelson said.
“Besides, like Hermione [from Harry Potter] said, the best way to make sure everyone reads something is to ban it!” Nelson said.
Millersville’s Banned Books Week offers many things, including panel discussions and taking superhero pictures with your favorite banned books. Exercise your right to read and relax with a banned book this week!