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Fight for your right to read

 One day, reading will be unheard of, and books will be burned. No one will think for themselves, and there will be mass chaos. At least, that is what happens in Ray Bradbury’s book, “Fahrenheit 451.”
In reality, reading is not forbidden but encouraged.

The American Library Association held their annual “Banned Books” week from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2 to honor our freedom of reading.

 Throughout this month the South Georgia Regional Library displayed challenged books in their adult section to celebrate the ALA’s message, according to Eric Mathis, Reference and Adult Services librarian.

 “It is important for us to give (people) the freedom to read,” Mathis said. “We are suppose to provide many different viewpoints and let the readers decide on what they should read.”

 Books open up new ideas, new lands and new images to people. This opportunity to learn should not be taken away.

 During the “Banned Books” week, Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of management at Missouri State University, stated that the books “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson,
“Slaughter-House Five” by Kurt Vonnegut and “Twenty Boy Summer” by Sarah Ockler should be banned from the local school system for being too graphic.

 According to the Kansas City Star, readers, including the students of Missouri State University and Drury University, have protested Scroggins’ opinions and efforts.

 Students should make it a habit of speaking out against people like Scroggins. Some of the best things a child, a teenager or an adult can read may have a controversial core or language.

 The message of “Speak,” a story about a young adolescent who loses her courage to speak after being raped, has touched thousands of people, according to Anderson. The book’s heroine finds her voice in the end, giving readers the strength to do the same; Anderson has received letters and emails full of countless confessions and anecdotes about people being raped or dealing with their own traumas. 

 By banning books, you ban a chance to learn and grow. You ban a chance for a person to gain courage to deal with their own problems by reading the stories of others. You ban a person’s chance to explore who they are and see a world they otherwise could not. You ban a person’s human right.

  According to Odum Library Circulation Manager, Alan Bernstein, book banning is not common at the VSU library because it is “an academic library” and does not base books on controversy as much as importance.

Even if we do not have this problem directly affecting us at VSU, we should stop those who would limit this option for students in elementary, middle or high school. 

 The South Georgia Regional Library has had issues with parents regarding the children’s section, according to Mathis.

“It is up to the parents whether children read a book,” Mathis said.

Parents should monitor what their children read, but children can not be sheltered from reality forever. Reading exposes children to harsh realities and new concepts that will help them develop as adults.

 No one should be stripped of their right to pick and choose what they want to read. We do not live in an oppressed learning environment and should honor it anyway we can.

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