PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The Pass Christian Library wants to make sure your first amendment right to read what ever you want is not violated. The library is taking part in Banned Books Week, which highlights the benefits of free and open access to information, while at the same time draws attention to the harm censorship can do.
"Although people may have reasons why they wouldn't want to read the books, that doesn't mean that other people should not have the right to read these book or have access to this information," said Pass Library Staff Worker Wendy Allard.
Titles like "Lord of the Flies" and "Brave New World" have had detractors who believed the books are too racy, or controversial. Even children's books like "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" have been labeled inappropriate.
"I picked up the book and I thought, 'Why would anyone challenge this book?'" Allard wondered. "But the characters in the book are animals. The main character is a donkey, two of the characters are policemen and they are pigs. So apparently someone was offended by police officers dressed as pigs."
The Pass Christian Library has featured these books as part of the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, to call attention to the dangers of censorship.
Director of Circulation, Phyllis Brack said, "It's a celebration of our right to read whatever we would like to read."
Brack said the main reasons books are banned are because of religion, racism, coarse language and sexual content. Words about sex and drugs in the popular Gossip Girl series for teens recently prompted one South Mississippi school district to pull the books from the school library.
The Pass librarians say they understand a parent's need to exercise caution with content. But they say banning books isn't the answer.
"We don't encourage people to read inappropriate things that they might consider to be inappropriate," Allard said. "But we feel like we have the obligation to offer these materials for everyone. We feel it's basically their duty and responsibility to be involved in their children's lives and make sure that they don't read materials that they consider inappropriate."
The Pass Library has been celebrating Banned Books Week for nearly 30 years. To learn more about the nationwide celebration of reading, and to find out the 10 most challenged titles of 2010, visit http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/about.