Banned Books Week events celebrate freedom to read

September 29, 2016

Troy University has been putting the spotlight on censorship and free speech with a series of Banned Books Week events this week at the campus libraries in Troy, Dothan and Montgomery.

Banned Books Week is an annual, national campaign that encourages students to exercise their freedom to read by calling attention to banned or challenged books and persecuted people in history.

Events at the TROY libraries will continue through Friday.

“Literature and reading are great gifts that we are able to enjoy in this country, and both are typically taken for granted,” said Rachel Hooper, a business librarian on the Troy Campus. “Many countries censor what can be written, read, and dispersed, so I feel that Banned Books Week is the opportune time to celebrate the freedom we do have in America.”

According to the American Library Association, adult content, use of offensive language, or material deemed “unsuitable for any age group” are all criteria for books being banned or challenged. Banned Books Week seeks to shed a light on the censorship that is still taking place.

Events sponsored by the Troy University Library included a mystery quiz for students to test their knowledge on banned materials, photo opportunities with T-Roy, a matching game and a “read-out” event where faculty and staff can talk about their favorite banned book and why having the freedom to read is so important. Each event features door prizes, a book give-away and displays of student artwork.

Copies of well-known banned or challenged books are also being given away at the Troy Campus, including “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, “The Hunger Games” by Suzzane Collins and “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hoesseini.

“The photo booth was a fun time for students, staff, and faculty to take a quick break from work and studying,” Hooper said. “I also really enjoy the Read-Out Event because it gives new perspectives on books and why certain books mean so much to people.”

Troy University was one of only six universities to receive a $1,000 grant for Banned Books Week from the Freedom to Read Foundation Judith Krug Memorial fund.

This year’s slogan is “Stand Up for Your Right to Read” with a theme of “Diversity.”