Next week, Mitchell Memorial Library will celebrate Banned Books Week by recognizing works of literature that have been challenged or banned.
Banned Books Week, an awareness campaign affiliated with the American Library Association, runs September 18-24 across the United States.
According to event websitebooks like “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson will be featured.
KC New, humanities librarian at Mitchell Memorial Library, said the event was used to celebrate and educate others about the censorship.
“Last year, nearly 2,000 titles were challenged or banned, and dedicating a specific week to them helps spark a conversation about censorship,” New said.
According to New, some books are banned to censor messages deemed harmful to people who read them.
When literature is banished from library shelves, New said a university curriculum can be limited.
“Part of my background in history was to read part of ‘Mein Kampf’ because it’s necessary to learn all the points of view instead of being stuck in your own little bubble,” said New.
According to New, next year’s plans for Banned Books Week will be more practical.
Rheagan Case, a graduate student in English, explained how harmful censorship is.
“Banning books allows certain groups to discriminate against minorities. Books, I believe, should not be banned,” Case said.
Case said free speech is eliminated when books are banned.
As a student in the English department, she said the book ban affected her curriculum.
“Many books on race and gender have been banned from schools and universities, and I feel like this prevents students from learning experiences that are supposed to be discussed by certain minority groups,” he said. said Case.
The list of contested and banned books also includes literary classics such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding.
Similar to Case, graduate English student and former teacher Rachel Bell said she has had her own personal experience with banned books.
“As a teacher, I was really shocked when I found out I was going to be teaching ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ especially in Mississippi,” Bell said.
After finishing the book with her class, she recalled seeing news about Florida’s decision to ban the book from schools.
“It kind of made me pause and think. It can happen anywhere,” Bell said.
Bell expressed his opinion on the restriction of these books and their contents.
“I always laugh when books like ‘Fahrenheit 451’ or ‘1984’ get banned, but then I realize that the people in power who ban those books don’t understand them,” Bell said.
She said she saw no harm in many novels involved in the event.
“Of course, there are limits that should not be crossed — we probably shouldn’t proliferate hate speech — but more often than not, those books that are challenged are net positives,” Bell said.
To learn more about the contested books and the topics associated with them, Bell encouraged students to visit the library and pick up a banned book.
“The freedom to read and engage with different ideas is so important for intellectual improvement. We need to read stimulating material to question ourselves and challenge our own opinions,” Bell said.
For more information on Banned Books Week, the library plans to host a social media campaign throughout the week on Instagram @msstatelibraries.