Members of Clarion University student groups Tobeco (literary magazine), English Club and History Club will host a celebration of banned books from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 27 in the university art gallery in Carlson Library. The event, which includes readings, trivia and information about censorship, is part of Banned Book Week, the American Library Association’s annual celebration of the first amendment. Censored books will be on hand.
"Why should students care about this? Why should anyone care about not being able to read a certain book? My answer always is that we live in a country where we are so fortunate to have the first amendment," said student Rose Ganoe, president of Tobeco. "People cannot take away our right to free speech unless the speech is harming someone."
Ganoe said American writers have used the first amendment to make powerful changes in our country. She points to Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Toni Morrison's "Beloved and the Bluest Eye," both of which combat racism.
"When writings such as these are censored, large quantities of people are missing a learning opportunity, the chance to think for themselves and figure out what they truly believe," Ganoe said. "They also miss the chance to learn of the past and of the darker side of human nature so that reflection can take place before acts are repeated. Oscar Wilde said, 'The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.'"
Books highlighted at the event will include "All Quiet on the Western Front," "Animal Farm" and "1984."
Celebration of Banned Books is free and open to the public. For information, email Ganoe at firstname.lastname@example.org.