Karrmann promotes banned books

The Elton S. Karrmann Library hosted Banned Book Week to promote student awareness about the dangers of banning books.

In a corner on the second floor of Karrmann Library sat a chair surrounded by over 100 books. Books like “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker and every genre in-between. The books shared one characteristic; each was banned somewhere in the world.

According to the American Library Association’s website, in 2010, 348 attempts were made at banning books in the United States. Eight Wisconsin towns have banned books since 2007.

Books are banned for different reasons such as, anti-religious themes, profanity and content some consider inappropriate. Regardless of the reason, banning books poses a danger to everyone by blocking the access of information, said Karrmann Library Director Zora Sampson.

“Freedom of information is essential to the informed citizenry a democracy requires,” Sampson said. “Students need to know about banned books because they, as citizens will need to work alongside librarians, other educators and caring citizens to preserve access to information.”

Books are often banned as a way to eradicate themes and ideas deemed wrong or offensive by certain groups. Any group or individual can start a petition to ban books from schools and public libraries.

Even a book someone finds appalling should not be banned because it allows people to talk about different ideas and viewpoints, said UW-Platteville literature professor Amy Parsons.

“Banning books doesn’t make bad things go away,” Parsons said.

Senior physics engineering Neal Phantz took part in the cake and punch reception Karrmann hosted to celebrate banned book awareness. Phantz has read at least a dozen of the banned books.

“My favorite is “Fahrenheit 451”,” Phantz said. “It is ironic it is banned because it’s about an American society where books are banned and fireman burn down any house that contains them.”

For a complete list of banned books go to ala.org.