OHS participates in banned book week

From Sept. 27- Oct. 3, the American Library Association spends its time promoting and taking part in Banned Books Week. Libraries, booksellers, publishers, and teachers participate in this nationwide event celebrating the freedom to read and the access to free and open information. The purpose of it is to inform the public about banned books, why they are banned, and why literature should not be censored because of its importance to people, history, and culture.

“It’s crazy to think that some people believe one person’s opinion should be the opinion of all,” Gina Figler, library media specialist at OHS, said.

Figler has been in charge of honoring this event in the library. An interactive display has been set up and all the banned books the library owns have been put onto one cart by the display.

The display starts with signs on the counter with bar codes that can be scanned by students who have that Q7R Reader app. One will show an article explaining what the week is all about. The second has a list of the 311 books that were banned in 2014 and their reason for being banned. The last sign has three different links to videos about the week and about banned books in general.

Next students can look at a rack of banned books wrapped in brown bags that have their reason for being banned written across the front. Most of these books are recent and popular. Harry Potter Series for “promoting witchcraft”, The Hunger Games for “violence”, and Of Mice and Men for “language”. The display goes one step further and allows kids that have read a book that is or was banned at some point in time to take their picture in front of a jail background with a plaque that reads, “caught reading a banned book”. These “mugshots” will be hung throughout the library during the week.

“I think it is really interesting and cool, the way the books are covered,” said Caroline Tank (12).

Many students have taken interest in the setup. So much attention has been drawn by the library’s celebration that the staff decided to incorporate the English department into the festivities. English teachers got their own “mug shots” taken with a banned book they have read to generate more interest. Then teachers that were interested have brought their classes in to check out banned books. Mrs. Whelehon is giving her classes extra credit if they read a banned book and write a letter supporting or not supporting its ban and reasons for the ban.

“I’m really excited about the book I’m reading,” Hannah Baker (10) said. “[My book] is a criminal one and I can’t wait to figure out why it was banned.”

These banned books may be considered controversial, but one thing that is not is this celebratory week! Every student at OHS should visit the library and participate while they still can.