Banned Books Week

One thing many people have learned through their years of schooling is that at one point books have been banned. Whether it was for religious reasons, political movements, or overall fear, books were banned. Now for thirty-four years on the last week of September, the United States of America celebrates Banned Books Week.

But what really is Banned Book Week? Why should we celebrate this? One thing that the United States is known for is its freedom. Its freedom to let individuals speaks yet books are still being banned or censored. This week is meant to highlight that people should be allowed to read and explore the many books that wonderful authors have written. But instead, elementary and middle schools continue to take books off of their shelves and refuse to teach certain books because they contain “offensive” material. Parents sometimes are the cause of books being banned as they do not want their child being taught something that goes against what they would teach their child. Often, parents do not want their children reading something that has racism or sex in it without direct punishment as they feel that it teaches their children that they can do these things. Examples of such books are: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

 

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The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling has been challenged and banned in some schools due to its focus on witchcraft, dark storyline, and can set bad examples for children. This particular series of books has been a favorite of mine since I was four years old. My experience with these books is nothing short of amazing. It taught me that being a good friend and surrounding myself by good friends is what will help me in life, rather than being surrounded by the rich and “powerful” families. I learned that I needed friends who would stick with me through everything, no matter what was going on in my life, like Hermione and Ron do for Harry and vice versa. It also taught me that love is one of the most important things in life and that it can save you, whether figuratively or literally in a sense. I never once thought about rebelling against an evil teacher, unless I was completely correct in doing so. Nor did I ever think that it was okay to be racist like the Malfoy family. Overall, if you want to read about a boy wizard, do it. If you do not want to read it, obviously you have that choice.

 

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a classic, yet schools and parents ban this book because it’s seen as racist and can make people uncomfortable. I can understand not wanting to teach children that it is okay to be racist because that is not okay. What I do not understand is why it is not allowed to be taught to teenagers who should be able to handle knowing that racism should not be tolerated.

 

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a book that is banned because it mentions masturbation, profanity, racism and deals with very hard subject matters such as alcoholism and death. I just read this book in my English 418 class. Although it does deal with dark matters, there is nothing wrong with allowing a ninth grade student to read this book. I loved this book because even though it touched on dark matters, it made it very clear that alcoholism was never okay and there would always be negative consequences to go along with it. Alexie also made it very clear that Junior, the protagonist of the story, was never better than anyone else.

Those three books are only a very small examples of banned books. If you would like more information on which books are banned or challenged, you could go to http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek.

If you would like to participate in Banned Books Week, Monday 9/26/2016 the six o’clock series in the HUB Ohio room is focusing on “What’s Pop Culture and Why Do Diverse Pop Culture Voices Get Challenged?” hosted by the Pop Culture Methodologies group. On Wednesday 9/28/2016 from 1-2PM in the HSS Atrium there will be a read-out. Come and listen to excerpts from banned books or if you’d like to read something yourself you can sign up to do so! There will be refreshments, prizes and vouchers at this event. Hope to see everyone there!

Meet the Intern, Emily

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” –Anna Quindlen

My name is Emily Shook and I am just a small town girl who followed her love of books to college. I grew up in Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania — not too far from Indiana. I have one younger brother who also attends IUP and is a freshman in the Safety Science program. A little about me: I love history, I really enjoy writing stories and over the summer I not only got to babysit six beautiful kids from two different families, but I also had the chance to work on a horse farm in Blairsville. When I’m not in class or reading a book I’m either with my sisters of Gamma Sigma Sigma doing community service, babysitting, crafting, fishing, cooking or working on my internship at our very own Stapleton Library on campus. I chose to do an internship at the library because it is giving me the opportunity to work with social media, research, and inform other students just how useful the library is to college students and how much it has to offer them. Not only can it make them successful college students, but that it also offers very interesting and amazing different artifacts that are not available anywhere else.

Currently I am a senior here at IUP majoring in English Literary, Textual, and Cultural studies with a minor in Criminology and am graduating in May 2017. Once I graduate I will hopefully be going to graduate school focusing in composition and literature.

IUP Libraries 2016 National Library Week Poster Contest

National Library Week 2016 Libraries Transform @ IUP Libraries PowerPoint/Poster Contest

Students are spending more time than ever in the library: reading books, watching videos, doing research and using computers, studying with friends, working on projects—the transformations are endless! This National Library Week, we want to know how IUP Libraries place, service or resource transforms you. We’re inviting you to create a PowerPoint poster/slide telling other students about the opportunities available at IUP Libraries and get a chance to win our Libraries Transform PowerPoint/Poster contest.

Prizes

  • First place: $100 Co-op Store gift card
  • Second place: $50 Co-op Store gift card
  • Third and fourth place: $25 Co-op Store gift card

To Enter

PowerPoint Poster Submission Deadline

DEADLINE EXTENDED for entries TO MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2016, at 4:00PM

Selection of the Winners

The winning entries will be chosen by people’s popular choice vote via IUP Libraries Twitter and Facebook social media pages. VOTING CLOSES MAY 2, 2016 AT 4PM! Winners will be announced on MAY 3, 2016 DURING FINALS WEEK!

Contest Rules

Create a PowerPoint slide/poster that tells other students about the unlimited possibilities at the IUP Libraries. It must:

  • Include photos and other images taken in one of the IUP Libraries
  • Be produced entirely by IUP students
  • Demonstrate positive images of IUP Libraries resources services and/or places.
  • Be original
  • Not violate of copyright law or IUP Student Code of Conduct
  • Complete online permissions form (emailed upon submission)

Entries that do not adhere to contest rules will be disqualified.

Be sure to get permission if taking picture of people for your poster, and please do not disturb other library users while you are making your PowerPoint poster.