September 21-26 is an exciting week at Eckhart Public Library. It’s Banned Books Week! (The national celebration is September 28-October 3, but since Eckhart Public Library will be closed for maintenance that week, we are celebrating a week early.)
Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read, a right that is guaranteed in the Constitution and essential to democracy.
During Banned Books Week, the library features items that people across the country have tried to get banned from public libraries and public schools for a variety of reasons. It’s a huge list of books, including 30 from the Library of Congress’ exhibit “Books That Shaped America,” which were books that “have had a profound effect on American life.” Some of the books on that list that have been challenged include “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London, “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville, “The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane, and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Many of the favorite books that generations of children and teens have grown up reading have also been challenged, including “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak, “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle, “Where’s Waldo?” by Martin Hanford, and the “Captain Underpants” series by Dav Pilkey. Even books like the Bible and the dictionary have been challenged in the past!
During Banned Books Week, Eckhart Public Library staff will be wearing buttons featuring one of their favorite books that have been banned or challenged, and we encourage people to chat with a staff member about those books. We also encourage people to share their favorite banned books on social media using the hashtag #EPLBannedBooks. If you’re looking for a banned book, check out the displays in the Main Library and Teen Library. You may be surprised at what books you find!
We will also have two events related to banned books:
- Banned Books Crafts: Celebrate Banned Books Week by making decorations and jewelry celebrating subversive literature. Monday, September 21, 6-7 p.m., Close Community Room.
- Harper Lee Banned Books Week Discussion: Rarely has a book’s release received as much attention as Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman,” written before her 1960 Pulitzer prize-winning (and frequently challenged) classic To Kill a Mockingbird. There will be a screening of the 1963 film version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Close Community Room. A discussion of the novels “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Go Set a Watchman” will follow at 3 p.m. Sweet tea and cornbread will be served. Saturday, September 26, 12:30-5 p.m., Close Community Room.
Eckhart Public Library strives to provide materials for the entire community, and to reflect the community’s diversity by offering a wide variety of materials. That means that some materials in the library may be offensive to some people, but in America, it’s important that people have the freedom to choose the materials they want to read or view. This is a freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and it is vital to continuing democracy in the United States. Censorship and suppression of viewpoints undermine the democratic process. By celebrating banned and challenged books, we’re also celebrating freedom!