Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Banned Books and Eager Readers
Banned Books Week was started thirty years ago by the American Library Association as a way of showing support for controversial books, their authors, and the librarians and teachers who make the books available.
Banned Books Week is being recognized on the WIU campus, and also in downtown Macomb.
On campus, selections from challenged books, including The Hunger Games and Brave New World, were read at an event held in the Garden Lounge of the Malpass Library on Tuesday, October 2. (Challenged books have been formally contested. The aim of challenge is often a ban, such as restricting access to a book in a school library.)
The event is called “Banned and Determined.” This is the fifth year the readings have been held.
Librarian Tammy Sayles told the Courier’s Jennifer Wilson that books that get challenged are frequently those aimed at younger readers. In many instances, a parent will argue that a book is not suitable for an age group, and should be removed from a class reading list or library shelf. Objections might include offensive language or explicit material.
Defenders of the books say that complainants many times take selections out of context.
On the downtown square in Macomb, New Copperfield’s bookstore featured a display to recognize Banned Books Week. The McDonough County Voice’s Lainie Steelman spoke with New Copperfield's Book Store owner Linda Cox. Cox says that spotlighting the books gets customers' attention, and often leads to purchases.
Classics, including To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn, have been challenged or banned. More recent releases to be challenged include books from the Harry Potter series.
Banned Books Week ends Saturday, October 6.
Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is in its thirtieth year.