Tarleton libraries participate in national Banned Books Week

STEPHENVILLE (September 22, 2017) — The list includes classics like Gone with the WindCatcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—books banned or challenged in libraries across the country.

Tarleton State University’s Dick Smith Library on the Stephenville campus and the Texan Hall Library at the school’s Fort Worth outreach center will highlight these and other titles in concert with Banned Books Week, Sept. 25 through Oct. 1.

“Read-outs” take place Monday at both locations, allowing participants to read five-minute excerpts from personal favorites that have drawn criticism. About 40 participants have registered.

The event runs from 2 to 4 p.m. in Stephenville and 2:30 to 4 p.m. in Fort Worth.

Both libraries will give out free “100 years of banned books” T-shirts in honor of Tarleton’s centennial celebration as a founding member of The Texas A&M University System.

“It’s probably one of the biggest events we celebrate in the library because censorship is still prevalent today,” said Kym Schow, coordinator of access services at Tarleton’s Dick Smith Library. “We want to make sure people understand how important it is to be able to read what they want and promote literacy.”

Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the issue of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events.

“I’m excited that actual passages from banned or challenged books are going to be read out loud in the Texan Hall Library,” said Lisa Wan, reference and instruction librarian at Tarleton’s Fort Worth outreach center. “I love that, as a librarian, I work in a career that helps to promote the free exchange of uncensored words and ideas.”

Diversity is the focus of this year’s event.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since then, according to the American Library Association. In fact, 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been targeted for ban attempts.

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