Discover Your Island

University Library Celebrates Banned Books Week and Freedom to Read

September 30, 2016

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Mary and Jeff Bell Library celebrated their annual Banned Books Week, which began Sept. 25 and offered a special open house Sept. 29. The week-long event embraces the freedom to seek and express ideas through literature, even though some works may be considered unorthodox or unpopular.

“This event started off years ago as just a display of books,” said Patricia Hernandez, Library Associate II and Marketing Committee Chair for the Bell Library. “The event it has grown into now exposes students to the idea of censorship in literature, and that banning books is still something that’s happening today. It’s not something that happened generations ago. People are still currently challenging books and trying to tell students what they can and cannot read.”

The library displayed information on which books have been banned both nationally and internationally, some of them being popular titles like “Harry Potter” and “The Great Gatsby.” The library also included a display which asked students if they would consider serving jail-time for their favorite works of literature, with many of them surprisingly answering “yes.”

“It’s interesting and almost shocking to see how many books have been banned or challenged solely because of diversity or sexual content,” said Chloe Rodriguez, a freshman Islander student. “It’s almost as if people don’t want young adults, like myself, to know about these things when it is actually important to have these ideas and add to your views about the world.” 

During the library’s open house, visitors participated in different events including a cosplay costume contest, judging a bookmark contest and guessing the “book in a jar contest.” Attendees could also take part in a scavenger hunt to help familiarize themselves with the library’s many free services.

“The main goal of the Bell Library is to serve those who need us,” said Hernandez. “If there’s a person that wants to read something, or even watch something now that we offer DVDs, all they have to do is ask. We’re always here to help.”