Queens stands up to book bullies

Queens University of Charlotte performed its third annual banned books reading this week—a rebellious experience in which students raise a figurative middle finger to censorship.

In past years, the university has called students to gather in front of the campus library for this event. Anyone who wanted to could sign up to stand in front of the crowd and read excerpts from a book that has touched them in some way. The books they choose from have at one point in time been banned in the United States. Among books on the list are “The Giver”, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “The Grapes of Wrath”, and the Harry Potter series.

 Students, faculty and staff are reading from their favorite banned books. Among books on the list are "The Giver", "To Kill A Mockingbird", "The Grapes of Wrath", and the Harry Potter series.Mason Farnan | The Queens Chronicle

Students, faculty and staff are reading from their favorite banned books. Among books on the list are “The Giver”, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “The Grapes of Wrath”, and the Harry Potter series.

Sherrill Shiraz, a librarian on campus, feels very strongly about this event. She says that the broader meaning of the book is more important than an offensive word or act.

“We’re concerned about the freedom of information,” she said. “You can find something in every single book that’s offensive to someone, or is against a religion or against the law or something.”

Everyone believes different things and learns in different ways, but Shiraz thinks it is wrong for anyone to tell us how and where we do so. She says that it’s important for us to be aware of the fact that there are people out there who are trying to limit what we see so we as a culture can stand up and say, “No, I don’t want you to do that.”

Banned book readings were led by the American Library Association starting in 1982; he organization have been actively and peacefully protesting banned books ever since. Its website, www.ala.org, preaches about the harmful effects of banning books. It says such actions as dictating what our children are and are not allowed to read can result in “a threat to freedom of speech and choice.”

 

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