Library celebrates freedom to read

Banned books display

Crestview Public Library staff members Marie Garcia and Annie Whitmore put finishing touches on a display of banned or challenged books for Banned Books Week.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 10:20 AM.

CRESTVIEW — What do Mark Twain, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Jack London and Kurt Vonnegut have in common — besides being some of literature’s most luminous names? At one time or another, their works — today considered literary classics — have been banned from American libraries, Crestview Public Library staff members said.

A display at the library, erected Friday in observance of Banned Books Week, includes stacks of books that have been banned or challenged in American libraries. To draw attention to the perceived dangers of stifling Americans’ right to read, the books on display have been wrapped in yellow police “caution” tape.

An author doesn’t have to be one of the great names of literature for their works to be challenged, Crestview librarians said. Authors also include J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien, and titles even include the Bible.

“I think this display has more books than we’ve ever put on the banned books table,” librarian Annie Whitmore said as she and Marie Garcia put finishing touches on the display. “We are just creating an awareness of our opportunity to explore literature and how some people want to keep you from doing that.”

The American Library Association and its members have observed Banned Books Week for 30 years. This year’s theme, “fREADom,” features the Statue of Liberty holding aloft her torch and reading a book she holds in her left hand. The Crestview library is distributing bookmarks bearing the graphic.

Sometimes books are banned for religious reasons, library assistant Tracey McGann said.

“Most people object to some books on religious grounds, but then they’re the ones who most want religious freedom,” McGann said.

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