"People want to stick their heads in the sand." I overheard this comment from one of the members of the Class of 1957 as they toured the library this past weekend as part of the homecoming festivities. This one comment was worth the effort of putting up the display. I'm a firm believer in every person's right to free access to information. However, I have to admit that I was a little worried about our display of banned books. I just wasn't sure how some of our older alumni would react. It turns out that they were very interested in the issue. One book in particular caught their eye -- And Tango Makes Three. As I described in an earlier post, this is a children's book based on a true story about two male penguins who take turns sitting on an orphaned egg. I told them that book happened to be the book most often challenged or banned this year. After a few more minutes, they continued on their tour. It was as they headed upstairs that I overheard the comment about people sticking their head in the sand. Later on their way out of the building, several of them picked up bookmarks and copies of the banned books list. One of the women told me she was going to take one to her daughter who is a high school English teacher.
I don't really know what I expect when I put up the banned books display each year. I guess I just want people to understand that censorship is dangerous. It may not seem like a big deal if one book is removed from a library shelf or a school reading list. But, that's the way all civil liberties are eroded -- one small step at a time. So, it's time we get our heads out of the sand!