First Coast Connect: Banned Books Week

Sep 29, 2016

Classic novels including “Catch-22,” “A Catcher in the Rye,” “To Kill a Mockingbird”’ and the Bible have all faced the wrath of individuals or groups seeking to ban from school and public libraries.

The trend continues today with books like “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

This is Banned Books Week and libraries across the country and in Jacksonville are commemorating books that are regularly challenged.

On First Coast Connect Thursday, Jacksonville librarian Lisa Taylor, Jacksonville University professor Courtney Barclay and First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacy Goldring joined host Melissa Ross to talk about some of the events of the week and their favorite books that others wanted banned.

“The main reason I think people challenge books is just because there is something in the book that they as an individual find offensive,” Taylor said. “The library believes that there should be books in the library for all of the public and the public includes a very diverse group of people.”

Barclay held a forum Wednesday at the University Park library branch using Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” as a theme to discuss censorship.

Miller used the Salem witch trials as an allegory to Sen. Joe McCarthy searching for communist in the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings of the 1950’s.

Many recent books that have been challenged deal with LGBT issues.

Last year, two books — “Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan” and “The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq” — written by Jeanette Winter prompter a small group of parents to petition the Duval County School Board to get them pulled from the shelves. They group protested on religious grounds because the characters in the books were a positive portrayal of Muslims.                      

Taylor said the answer is simple: “If you don’t like the content of a book, don’t read it.”

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at kmeerschaert@wjct.org, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax