CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Violence. Witchcraft. Sexual situations. Racial issues. Alternative lifestyles. These are just some of the reasons that books are challenged or completely pulled off library shelves. Since 1982, the first year the Banned Books Week Campaign launched nationwide, there have been more than 11,300 books challenged or censored for their content. The Mary and Jeff Bell Library at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is a staunch advocate of the freedom of information and this is why they celebrate Banned Books Week each year with fun and engaging activities for the campus community.
“Banned Books Week is about the freedom to read what you want without someone else telling you that the book is inappropriate,” said Patricia Hernandez, Library Information Specialist at the Bell Library. “It teaches students about banned and challenged books and censorship.”
During an open house and Banned Book Week event on Sept. 28, students who visited the Bell Library learned from several dynamic displays informing them on various books and why they had been banned in the past. There were also activities for students to take part in, including a scavenger hunt and a “book title” guessing game.
The Department of Theatre and Dance joined in the festivities by providing multiple theatre students who dressed as characters from different banned books including “The Wizard of Oz,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Animal Farm” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Through these various displays and activities, Islander students were asked to form their own opinions on book banning.
“If you ban books, people miss out on experiencing other cultures and experiences,” said Joy Puumala, a freshman music major.
Larry Martinez, a freshman theatre student who dressed up as Rhett Butler from “Gone with the Wind,” agrees.
“One of the dangers of banning books is that the line keeps getting pushed a little more,” he said. “It starts with language, then content and so on. It’s a really dangerous line to cross.”For more information on Banned Books Week, visit www.bannedbooksweek.org.