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Chemeketa embraces Banned Books

By Brock Gordon

Contained within is sexually explicit, irreverent material that glorifies drinking, cursing and premarital sex.

All of these are common reasons why books become challenged or banned books.

A banned book is a novel that is removed from a library or other public site because it has been deemed inappropriate.  These can range from children’s books such as the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexi, to adult novels like Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut and To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee.  These books that I mentioned are on the top 100 list of most challenged or banned books in America.

Banned BooksByBradBakke-October 07, 2013_3

Banned Books week started in 1982 by the American Library Association to raise awareness of everyone’s first amendment right of free speech.

The reason books become banned is that they offer a stance that challenged what the societal norm is.

Contrary to popular belief it isn’t the government that tries to get these books banned, it is usually a small group of citizens concerned with how moral the book is.

A major theme in these books is that the holders of the power are challenged in some way, be it in race relations, stance on war, or beliefs. The response to this is to silence the offenders by silencing their voice.

Most book banning happens at a younger age such as at the elementary or middle schools, Chemeketa librarian Trisha Bender said.

When asked her feeling about the banning of books she said, “I am happy to live a in a country where I can read what I want. I may not agree with everything I read but I am happy that I have the chance to read it.”

Bender wasn’t the only one at Chemeketa who appreciated their freedom of speech.

The student body strongly reacted too.  Sophomore Sarah Pettigrew was vehemently against any form of censorship. “I find it incredibly narrow-minded” she said. “I can’t stand anyone telling me what I can or can’t do.” She went on to express how she seeks out books that others find objectionable.

Junior Kelli Seymour said that she felt Banned Books week was a good idea.

“More people should know about these books. I wouldn’t have even realized how much of an impact most of these novels made without seeing the stand by the library.”

If you want to help keep books from being banned, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has four simple tips: read a banned book, come to an event in your area, start a banned book club with your friends or family, and proudly wear your “I read banned books” button received from any public library in your area.

Thanks to the efforts of the ACLU and local librarians most of the challenges are now unsuccessful.

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