Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 marks the annual occasion of Banned Book Week, an awareness campaign from the American Library Association (ALA) to advocate for freedom from censorship. CU’s library system is observing the event by promoting books in their system that have been censored or criticized in the U.S.
A cart near the front entrance of Norlin Library has a display of banned books, and the library system website is featuring six in particular: Invisible Man, Brave New World, Beloved, Kaffir Boy, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry (written by Mildred D. Taylor, a CU alumna) and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
The ALA’s theme for Banned Book Week is “celebrating diversity,” as they state that books that deal with themes of race, sexual orientation or disability, or books written by ethnic authors, are disproportionately targets of censorship. People of color make up 37 percent of the U.S. population but are only the focus of 10 percent of books that are published. Fifty-two percent of censored books contain diverse content.
“It’s important to have a wide variety and knowledge of where these authors have come from, and the different stories that they’re trying to tell,” Library Technician Grace Haynes said. “I think it’s important to see that for the books that have been challenged, it keeps coming up again and it’s going to be an issue for a while. There’s so much great literature out there written by these fantastic authors. I think if access to these novels is banned or limited, it really shuts people out from getting that wide range of understanding, and it also prevents them from getting some really quality literature.”
Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Carina Julig at email@example.com.