Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? In the United States, Women’s History Month traces its origins back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911, which then turned into Women’s History Week when President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. This eventually developed into Women’s History Month when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, officially making March 1987 Women’s History Month, which then in turn led to additional resolutions in the years that followed to grant future presidents the authority to declare every March as Women’s History Month. The Katharine Brush Library is sharing in the celebration this year with our That’s What She Said display on the second floor. This display highlights quotes by women activists, scientists, politicians, and artists who have paved the way for women today and showcases books by and about some of these women, including Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
“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.