Celebrate the freedom to read

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The library will set up blind dates with banned books this week.

By Roberto Martinez

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

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Students can exercise their freedom to choose what they read from this college’s library with books that have been challenged and or banned for content during Banned Books Week.

According to the American Library Association, Banned Books Week is an annual event that promotes the freedom to read and highlights the value of free and open access to information.

It is observed this year from Sept. 27-Oct. 3.

Each year, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to express all viewpoints, even if they might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, according to the association’s website at www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek.

The library at this college will present the third annual Blind Date with a Banned Book during Banned Books Week.

Students with a college ID can visit the library beginning at 9 a.m. today on the third floor of Moody Learning Center and choose a book wrapped in brown paper.

Ten books will be available at 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday and at noon Tuesday and Thursday.

Reference Librarian Celita Avila recommends students come early as it is first come, first served, and the books go quickly.

This year’s selection of books includes the recently challenged “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” a medical history book, by Rebecca Skloot.

This book was challenged in Knox County, Tenn., after the mother of a 15-year-old boy called the book pornographic and wanted it removed from all Knox County schools, according to a Salon article published Sept. 9.

“As librarians, it is our duty to find the balance between age-appropriate content, and remain vigilant in allowing the access of information for all,” Avila said.

Avila said all libraries have collection standards and policies to prevent explicit content and assures that each title purchased is subject to this consideration.

“(With) titles that have received criticism but have also received literary recognition and awards, we have to remember, we are curators for everyone and provide this content for everyone,” she said.

Other books featured that have also been challenged or banned include “The Autobiography of Malcom X,” which has been regarded as a “how-to-manual” for crime and claims of “anti-white” statements.

“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown, the story of U.S. growth and expansion to the west from the perspective of the Native Americans, was banned by a school district in Wisconsin in 1974 because some considered the writing “polemical” and the district wanted to avoid controversy.

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neal Hurston, according to the American Library Association, was challenged in 1997 by parents in Brentsville, Va., who attempted to ban the book from a high school’s advanced English class for “sexual content.” That ban was overturned.

To find out more about Banned Books Week 2015, visit www.sacguide.libguides.com/banned.

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