By: Kimberly Kelly
You may have recently noticed some caged books around campus, and there’s a good reason for them. Feb. 11 to 15 was Library Week, with this year’s theme centered around banned books.
The goal of the week was to spread awareness as to why certain books are banned. Some reasons include drugs, sex, religion and violence among other sensitive subjects. Classics such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain or “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl have been challenged alongside contemporary phenomenons like “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas and the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer. Even the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling is banned in select schools in the belief that it advocates witchcraft and the occult.
The library hosted an array of events to celebrate the week, ranging from open discussions to scavenger hunts to wand making. On Feb. 13, the MSMC community welcomed Madelyn Folino, a Mount alumna, back to campus to talk about her extensive experience with challenged and banned books during her time as director of the Florida Public Library. Folino recounted saving a children’s book she didn’t even like – “King and King” by Linda De Haan – from being removed from shelves for integrating LGBTQ+ themes. Folino makes a point of designating banned books a spot on her shelves to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to read what they please.
Furthermore, on Feb. 15, in collaboration with SGA, the library hosted “Mocktails & Wand Making,” an event featuring ‘mocktails’ inspired by books that have been either banned or challenged. Drinks included butterbeer, as seen in the wizarding world of “Harry Potter,” as well as deadly nightlock, as featured in “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. Attendees also created their own wands, reminicessiant of Harry Potter as well.
On top of this, the “Amazing Banned Books Race” took place throughout the week. Students picked up passports and followed clues to locate a myriad of banned books scattered throughout the campus. Skylar La Russo, Cassie Stanczuk and Eva Bonaitis, the winners of this scavenger hunt, received 16GB tablets.
When all’s said and done, this year’s Library Week was a success and achieved its goal of spreading awareness of banned books. “Challenged and banned books prohibit a person’s right to read content that serves to inform and would otherwise allow them to gain insight and understanding into heavily debated topics and issues,” said Jennifer Park, assistant librarian of the Kaplan Family Library. She further stresses that it is crucial to ensure accessibility to information about these topics so that one can develop their own personal thoughts and ideas. All in all, this year’s Library Week was a great source of information regarding the significance of banned books, showcasing how they have influenced generations.