Emporia State students and community members celebrated banned book week by holding events, setting up displays and having authors discuss the issue of censorship from Sept. 23-28.
Banned book week became a formal initiative in 1982 and has been celebrated every year since, according to Marcia Lawrence, owner of Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, 1122 Commercial St.
Often, books are challenged and banned because people don’t agree with the content or the topics that they cover, according to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. The most often cited reasons for banning books include violence, religious content, homosexuality and sexual content.
In White Library, there wereEmporia commemorates banned book week displays of bookshelves filled with books that had been banned and a “book in a jar” competition, according to Kimberly Veliz, library staff and graduate information systems management student.
“We are having a competition, we have books in jars, and if you can guess the title of it, you will get some prizes, so that’s my favorite part of it so far,” Veliz said.
The display also included shredded books, which were donated to White Library, Veliz said.
At Ellen Plumb, people had the opportunity to visit the store and participate in a Facebook live stream, where they could read passages from a banned book, according to Lawernce.
Katelyn Dorrell, para at Emporia public schools and a children’s book publisher through Slothhead Press, said that children’s books can help make a change. Her favorite book as a child was A Wrinkle in Time, which is one of the most frequently challenged books since its publication in 1962, according to History.com.
“It suggests universalism,” Dorrell said. “Children are our future, I love children’s book too. I love kids and working with them. I feel like a lot of books we write for adults are kind of cynical and jaded, but books for child kind of helping them and there is where you can make change.”