Why We Shouldn’t Ban Library Books

Why We Shouldnt Ban Library Books

Sarah Sevener, Reporter

We are all familiar with banned books, whether we know it or not. Some of our all-time favorites have been subject to bans: To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, The Hate You Give. It has been a large topic of discussion in the upcoming school board election. Proponents of both sides have come to odds on Facebook, and at school board meetings. So why is it that pieces of paper can cause such controversy? According to the American Library Association, the most common reason for challenging is sexually explicit content, offensive language, and content unsuited to any age group. 

But, book banning has severely detrimental effects on a child’s empathy skills and overall quality of education. Books can act as mirrors or windows. We see ourselves in literature, but arguably more important, we see other people. We read about human struggles, shared experiences, and experiences that we hope we never have to experience. When a child longing for acceptance cannot find their “mirror” on a bookshelf, we must not overlook the effect this could have on their well-being. If we take away all the books that are ‘windows’, we will culture a youth that struggles to understand one another. 

Often, parents argue that they have the right to decide what subject matter their children are exposed to, which is true. On the contrary, they do not have the right to take away that subject matter from someone else. This is where book banning becomes a slippery slope. At what point must the line be drawn? Books are not meant to please everyone, so why should we treat them as though they are? Reading books that challenge our thinking and “social norms” is what allows us to grow, while censoring ideas that make us uncomfortable causes this growth to screech to a halt.