East Carolina University’s Joyner Library and Department of English marked Banned Books Week Sept. 25 with a Read Out at the Sonic Plaza near Joyner Library.
Banned Books Week is an annual event held the last week in September to celebrate Americans’ freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.
Jan Lewis, interim dean of Academic Library Services, said the event “celebrates the freedom to read and to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider threatening or unorthodox." She noted that many participants might be surprised by the list of books that were once banned or challenged.
Joyner Library technician Margaret Earley-Thiele organized the event, which she said was among several awareness events planned for the week.
“There was a wonderful turn-out of students, faculty and community members to listen to volunteers reading passages from a wide selection of controversial books,” she said. Because the event was held in Sonic Plaza, many people passing by stopped to see what was going on, she said.
Passages from “Catch 22,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “The Sun Also Rises,” “Lord of the Flies” and “Invisible Man” were read during the event.
Following the Read Out, participants were invited inside the library for a program on book burning and banning.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The ECU program was supported by Joyner Library, Sigma Tau Delta, the English Club and the English department.