Troy University Library is gearing up for its annual Banned Books Week from Sunday, Sept. 25, to Saturday, Oct. 1.
The purpose of the week is to recognize the freedom to read with a focus on diversity.
“The freedom of speech and the freedom to read are fundamentally connected,” said Chris Shaffer, dean of library service. “They (the freedoms) are at the core of what it means to be a United States citizen. As citizens of this country, we have the right to think, discuss and read whatever we want, which is not the case in many nations around the world.”
Troy received the Banned Books grant after submitting an application with a timeline outlining how the week would be executed, including budget allocations.
Rachel Hooper, business reference librarian, was influential in writing the grant to host the week on Troy’s campus.
“In order to be eligible (to receive the grant), organizations were required to be not-for-profit,” Hooper said. “The applicants were judged on several areas, including originality and creativity, appeal to a broad audience, collaboration with other organizations and the integration of social media.”
Alabama Troy campuses will be participating, each with its own events to commemorate the week.
On each day there will be ways that Troy students can participate leading up to the “Read Out Event” on Thursday, Sept. 29.
A mystery quiz will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the library on Monday, Sept. 26.
On Tuesday, Sept. 27, the library will host a photo booth where students can get their pictures made with Troy’s mascot, T-Roy, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
While props and books will be provided, Hooper encourages students to bring their own favorite “banned book” with them.
A matching game will be going on throughout the day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
The “Read Out Event” will be in the Media area of the library from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and will feature Troy faculty and staff discussing their favorite banned books and their importance.
Winners of the mystery quiz and matching game will be entered for the grand prize, which will be given away on Thursday.
According to Hooper, there will be two surprise grand prizes, one to the winner of the art competition and one from a name drawn based on participants.
At each of the events, a “select number of books” each day will be distributed including “The Hunger Games,” “The Bluest Eye” and “The Kite Runner,” Hooper said.
Beginning Friday, Sept. 23, student artwork will be displayed in the library showcasing banned books.
Hooper contacted Beverly Leach, lecturer in art design and foundation studies, about having several art students create posters.
Chekaylah Bradley, a junior graphic design and Spanish major from Montgomery, said Leach assigned each student a banned book for a class project.
“We were each assigned a banned book that we researched to see why it had been banned and made a poster to show its importance,” Bradley said.
Logan Blake, a junior graphic design major from Dothan, said that this project provided him a new outlook on banned books.
“It offered more perspective on human nature in general and promoted free thinking,” Blake said. “Many (books) were banned because of controversial ideas, and it causes you to think outside of social norms.”
The exhibit will remain until Friday, Oct. 7, and the art winner will be announced at the “Read Out Event” on Thursday.
Hooper said it is important for people to participate because of the freedoms that people have in the United States.
“Many people may not realize that people around the world do not have the same freedoms we have in America, and one of those is the freedom to read,” Hooper said.
“Even across this country, many books have been challenged due to content, but we celebrate this week to help support the idea of the ‘freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular,’ ” she said in reference to the ala.org website.