Imagine you discovered a book that you cannot wait to read. You visit your local library and ask if the book is available only to be told the book has been banned. When a book is banned from a library, it is removed from the shelf and stolen from the community. Unfortunately, banning books is a worldwide problem.
Books are often banned because someone takes offense to the content. However, those who want to ban books probably do not stop and think about how their censorious actions affect others who use the library.
As a public librarian, I have a professional responsibility to protect the intellectual freedom rights of the community and resist efforts to censor library materials. Children and teen books are frequent targets of censorship and complaints about offensive material, often coming from parents. I encourage parents to be actively involved in selecting their child’s reading material. As the youth services librarian, I am happy to help parents find books that meet their specific needs.
I invite the entire community to celebrate their freedom to read this week during Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week is an annual event, sponsored by the American Library Association, designed to raise public awareness of the dangers of censorship and revel in our freedom to read and the right to access information.
This year’s event marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week. To learn more about Banned Books Week or find a list of frequently challenged or banned books, visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek. Visit your library this week and check out a stack of books. While you are browsing the shelves, take time to appreciate your freedom to do so. If all the books that had ever offended someone were removed from our shelves, you would not have much of a collection to enjoy.
Children and teens are invited to put pencil to paper and write an inspirational short story. The Book ‘Em North Carolina Short Story Contest, hosted by the library, begins Monday. Whether students attend public school, private school, or are homeschooled, this contest is for them.
The theme is “The Power of Inspiration” and guideline sheets are available at all libraries and on the children’s page of the library’s website. The deadline is Dec. 7 and youths may submit their short stories at any of Robeson County Public Library locations.
The McMillan Memorial Library in Red Springs will show “The Lorax” movie on Friday at 4 p.m. Children are encouraged to enjoy the free show.
Children of all ages and their parents are invited to the family story time on Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. at the Lumberton Library. Children will enjoy stories, songs and make a fall craft.
The Every Child Ready to Read Parent Workshop will be held on Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. at the Lumberton Library. This workshop is designed to teach parents and other caregivers how to use five simple practices to prepare their young children for the magical world of reading. The workshop is free and is the first in a series. To register for the workshop, please sign up in person at the library or call 910-738-4859.
Support the library through the Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale. The sale will be held on Oct. 11 through Oct. 13 at the Osterneck Auditorium. The hours of the sale are as follows: Oct. 11 from 5 to 8 p.m.; Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. until noon. Make sure to visit the sale early for the best book selections.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will present its “Animal Tracks and Signs” show on Nov. 15 at 3:30 p.m. at the Gilbert Patterson Memorial Library in Maxton, and at 6 p.m. at the Osterneck Auditorium in Lumberton. The show will teach children and teens how to use their senses to uncover clues and tracks left behind by animals.
Live animals, including turtles, mice, snakes and frogs, will make a special appearance. The shows are free to attend, but space is limited due to the live animals. Registration for each show is required to guarantee a seat.
Registration begins on Oct. 22. To register for the Maxton show, call 910-844-3884. To register for the Lumberton show, call 910-738-4859.
Katie Huneycutt is the youth services librarian of Robeson County Public Library. You may reach her at 910-738-4859 or email@example.com. She is currently reading “Carnival of Souls” by Melissa Marr.