Libraries across the country, including ours, are celebrating Banned Books Week this week (Sept. 25-Oct. 1). Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign that brings attention to censorship, book banning, and ultimately celebrates the freedom we have in this country to read. Come check out our book display, located on the second floor of the Katharine Brush Library, and find out which titles have been banned in this country at one time or another. You might just be surprised by what you find!
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Does this quote sound familiar? Those of you who have read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird may recognize it as a passage the character Scout uses to explain how her appreciation for the ability to read and the time she spent reading grew out of the realization that she may no longer have that experience of reading at home with her father again.
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is an important, Pulitzer Prize winning, book about racism and rape, set in the American South, that has been read all across the country by high school students since it was first introduced in the classroom in 1963. A 2008 survey indicated that it has become the most widely read book in school across this country. The American Library Association (ALA) also finds that the book is among the most challenged and banned books, many years making it to the “Top 10” list, meaning that people continually question whether or not students should have access to the book.
This above quote found in To Kill A Mockingbird therefore not only speaks to the importance of access to books, but is also symbolic of the fight against censorship. Libraries across the country, including the Katharine Brush Library at Loomis Chaffee, are celebrating the fight to end censorship this week, September 21-27, referring to the week as Banned Books Week. Learn more about challenged and banned books by checking out our second floor library display.
Did you know that our library’s namesake, Katharine Brush, wrote a book that was once banned from a town in Massachusetts? It’s true! The 1949 reprint of You Go Your Way, also known as When She Was Bad, was banned that same year in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for having an obscene cover! Bookstores and newsstands were asked to remove the book from their shelves (along with several others). Katharine halfheartedly apologized for the cover photo, saying she should have chosen a more tasteful picture but simultaneously compared her book cover with images seen in advertising at that time.
For more information about this story and a few others on Katharine Brush, check out the “Kay and Me” blog at the following website: http://kayandme.blogspot.com/.
Ms. Aubrey Muscaro