By Ed Harris
The Southington Library is once again hosting a slate of local leaders to celebrate Banned Book Week.
Banned Book Week runs from Sunday, Sept. 21 to Saturday, Sept. 27.
The event will showcase local leaders reading from and sharing anecdotes about their favorite banned books. Those reading include Town Manager Garry Brumback, state Senator Joe Markley, state Rep. Dave Zoni, Town Councilors Vicky Triano and Cheryl Lounsbury, Town Attorney Mark Sciota and representatives from the Southington Education Foundation (SEF), the United Way and various library staff members.
“It celebrates the freedom to read,” said Southington Library Director Sue Smayda, describing Banned Book Week.
Libraries began celebrating Banned Book Week in 1982. This is the third time that the Southington Library is hosting the reading event. In past years, the library had simply set up a small display celebrating Banned Book Week.
It is possible for a single individual or a group to challenge a book, for example, from appearing on a student’s reading list or on a library’s shelves. The next step is banning the book, which does not generally happen anymore, Smayda said.
Those challenging or trying to ban books generally have the best interests of children in mind. Often, those raising the challenges think the books are a bad and corrupting influence on children.
Smayda called the Harry Potter book series a “perfect example” of people thinking a book can corrupt children. Those seeking to see the series banned do so because of its focus on witchcraft and sorcery, Smayda said, noting that the series did encourage a lot of children to begin reading.
Numerous books have been banned for various reasons throughout the years. This includes the Bible and the Koran, both of which will be read from at the library’s event.
“Some of the very best books ever written are on the list,” Smayda said of the banned book list.
This is the third time that Sciota, an avid reader, will take part in the library’s event. He is reading from “A Farewell to Arms,” by Ernest Hemingway.
“He spoke truth to power,” Sciota said, citing Hemingway’s antiwar views and how the novel, which he has read several times, talks about the destruction brought about by war.
The library’s event is on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. in the library’s cafe. The public is invited to attend.
By Ed Harris