The Frankfort Community Public Library (FCPL) is celebrating Freedom to Read week by showcasing banned and challenged books throughout the library.
Freedom to Read week spans from Sept. 19 to Sept. 24 and encourages libraries to showcase literature that has been challenged in the past. Currently, FCPL is hosting a drawing for community members to win a banned book and displaying banned books for the community to explore.
FCPL claimed that schools, libraries, booksellers and teachers celebrate Freedom to Read week each year to help the community explore censored books, articles and more that have been deemed inappropriate for public or private consumption. The week is intended to inspire, educate and celebrate the diverse book selection in the world.
FCPL will provide four copies of different books ranging from a children’s book to adult books that will be distributed through the drawing. The children’s book is “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier, the teen book is “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews and the two adult books are “Lawn Boy” by Jonathon Evison and “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, which will be available in Spanish.
Circulation Manager Chelsea Turner expressed that many of the books that are “banned” or censored in libraries explore topics that may be uncomfortable for certain readers, and FCPL encourages parents to be highly involved with their children’s studies and reading materials.
“Banned book week is just kind of a week for awareness of the censorship that so many libraries, public school libraries, academic libraries and school curriculums go through. So many people try to censor and restrict access to these books because they believe that it violates their personal beliefs, and they may believe that it’s unfit for their children,” said Turner. “Libraries in general believe that everyone should have the option to read what has been published, and it’s up to the parent to be involved in what their children are reading.”
Turner stated that many of the books that are challenged are unread by those making the proposal to ban the title. Turner expressed that many of the titles explore different cultures and perspectives that are valuable to readers who may host differing opinions.
“We think it’s important to make sure we have access to all types of books and to make sure that everybody is able to find and read whatever they would like to read,” said Turner. “Many of these books have different perspectives and different cultures and identities that are important. It might teach us about history and that sort of thing.”
Freedom to Read week highlights books that may contain difficult content regarding important themes, historical events or emotions that may help readers explore new emotions and learn history to help them grow. Librarians across the nation claim that the highlighted books often contain instances of sexism, racism, LGTBQ content, accessibility issues and much more that may cause readers to challenge their points-of-view.
According to the American Library Association (ALA), 1,597 books were banned, challenged or relocated in 2021, but the total only includes the number of reports ALA received.
FCPL hosts a variety of books that have been banned or challenged for the public to explore besides the four entered into the drawing. FCPL claimed that the library encourages the public to engage with books in a new way regardless of the book’s status and supports the freedom to read.
“We’ve pulled almost all of the books that we have that have been challenged or are banned at other locations, but none of the titles have been banned or removed from our library,” said Tuner. “We have lots of books available for checkout that patrons can take home and read and bring back. It’s not just the ones available for the drawing.”
For more information regarding Freedom to Read week at FCPL, visit Frankfort Community Public Library on Facebook, visit myfcpl.com, call 765-654-8746 or visit the Frankfort Community Public Library at 208 W. Clinton St. in Frankfort.