Heartland readers take mugshots for ‘banned books week’

Heartland readers take mugshots for ‘banned books week’

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Readers across the country and in the Heartland are coming together this week to fight against the censorship of books.

Every year, hundreds of books are restricted or banned from certain schools and libraries including prestigious titles like The Great Gatsby, A Brave New World, the Harry Potter Series and the Hunger Games.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24 students, faculty and staff at Southeast Missouri State University took ‘mugshots’ inside Kent Library with controversial books that have been targeted.

Carl Hess, an information literacy librarian at Southeast, said taking mock mugshots is an eye-catching way to highlight how harmful censorship can be.

“Talking about your freedom to read, open access to information can be a rather abstract concept," Hess said. "So presenting reading certain things as an almost transgressive event something that is you know naughty. Someone does not want you to access this but you still have the right to read it.”

Hess believes Banned Books Week is important to remember year-round because access to information is fundamental in a democracy.

“Particularly Library access is important to people because they may not be able to access all the materials they would like to read if it weren’t through their library. If it weren’t through their school," Hess said. "Banned books week has evolved to encompass things like filtering access to the Internet so students can actually see the entirety of the open web at their school computers.”

An English professor from Southeast also held a discussion at the Cape Girardeau Public Library on Tuesday to discuss the banning of Beloved by Toni Morrison.

According to the American Library Association, 2018′s list of most challenged books included ‘The Captain Underpants’ series, ’13 Reasons Why', and ‘The Hate U Give.’

For more information on how to get involved with ‘banned books week’ or how to report censorship, visit the ALA website.

Copyright 2019 KFVS. All rights reserved.