Don’t Read This


Elena Hodge

Banned books, lined up to advertise for banned book week

Elena Hodge, Managing Editor

The books collecting dust on our shelves haven’t always been allowed to live there, and although it seems strange to imagine our homes without classic’s like, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there was a time when these revered books were treated like alcohol during prohibition. Banned Books Week celebrates historical classics like these, and encourages people to be open-minded to literature that challenges the status quo. 

The almost archaic notion to try and limit what somebody else read,  or even what books they have access to, seems surprising in today’s day and age. Despite that,  many individuals and groups still challenge libraries, pushing back against books that they deem inappropriate. “It is not my responsibility as a school librarian to take books away from students or to promote censorship. Instead, according to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, it is my responsibility to put books into students’ hands,” said BHS Librarian Lori Mayes. Many parents are fighting to have certain books in school library’s taken off the shelves with reasons varying from explicit content to contradictory personal beliefs.

Boycotting books in a public school library or any books throughout history presents the basic rebellion to want the things you cannot have, especially so for teenagers. Making students aware of what they are not allowed, makes them only want that thing more. Not unlike during the times of prohibition, students will find a way to obtain the things they are not permitted, it already happens, so what would be the point in trying to ban something so easily attainable outside of school. “It’s pointless to ban the books because even if they don’t read it now. they might later,” said junior Sydney Mendive. “It’s essentially delaying the inevitable.” It would require banning certain texts being brought into the school by students themselves, something that would never be able to be enforced, and even when books are reported it doesn’t mean that they will always be stripped from the archives. “An official book challenge that follows school board policy starts with the challenger reading the entire book and answering prescribed questions about the book,” Mayes said. “Just requesting that a book be removed does not guarantee a book will be removed from the shelves.” 

The other fact remains that there are certainly some things that should not be read by everyone, but to try and restrict everyone and actually fully enforcing it is implausible. “…parents to have hard conversations with their kids about language, sex and sexuality, religion, and more. A parent can tell their kids not to read those books, and they can ask that their kid not be allowed to read certain books in the library,” said Mayes. “However, asking that a book be taken away from an entire population, such as a school because they don’t want their own kids to read it, is controversial in itself because it is censorship.”