By Ed Harris
The Southing Library will celebrate Banned Book Week with a public reading of passages from several books that have been banned or challenged during a special program next week.
“We’re bringing attention to the fact that everyone’s favorite book has likely been banned somewhere,” said Library Director Sue Smayda.
Every year the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom receives reports from libraries, schools and the media on attempts to ban books across the country. The list of books that have been banned or challenged is long and includes “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” “The Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “1984,” “Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Slaughterhouse-Five,” amongst others.
“[If] you want to read a good book, read a banned book,” Smayda said.
Smayda noted that it is often hard for libraries to put together a display highlighting Banned Book Week, as the books are almost always checked out.
As part of the Celebrate the Freedom to Read program at the library, numerous local leaders will read selections from their favorite banned books. The readers and organizers will also talk about why that particular book was banned or challenged.
The guest readers include Town Manager Garry Brumback, Town Attorney Mark Sciota, Youth Services Director Sue Saucier and Southington School Supt. Dr. Joseph Erardi.
Brumback will read a selection from “Animal Farm,” a book he first read in high school. While reading the book, he drew parallels between it and the Soviet Union, which was a superpower at the time.
Brumback said it was disturbing that people who try to hide a particular viewpoint by banning a book, rather than educating people about it.
“I would be surprised if people were not shocked at some of the books [on the banned book list],” Brumback said.
The Celebrate the Freedom to read event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Southington Library. Refreshments will be served and there is no need to register.
“Libraries don’t choose what people should read,” Smayda said. “We strive to provide material for all viewpoints.”