Saturday, October 5, 2013

Did You Remember Banned Books Week? Sigma Tau Delta Sure Did

October Event Coverage
Lekia Clark

Lane Center at Frostburg State University, the sun is setting on the cool autumn evening of October 1st 2013, and students are pouring out the game room as I make my way to room 111 tucked away down the hall from the book rental desk behind the bookstore. The room is made up of an intimate group of about 30 people, a nice equal mix of professors and students who are prepared with printed pages, borrowed library books, kindles, and some books from their personal collection. The event, the Annual Reading of Banned and Challenged Books put on by Sigma Tau Delta an international English honor society has seemed to have had a nice turn out.

The American Library Association started Banned Books Week (Sept. 22-28) in 1982 after the Supreme Court ruled to limit the power of school books to remove books from schools. Most of the books that were banned throughout history were banned because of explicit sexual content or offensive material, which the knowledgeable attendees point out when explaining why they put on this specific event.

When first entering the room that held the event the atmosphere feels light and quiet, everyone is respectful and cell phones are turned off. The front row mostly consisted of staff from the English department. The first presenter was Professor Chapman, who teaches a variety of English courses at Frostburg State University, spoke fluently and with strong emotion while she read a small excerpt from Dante’. More follow after her, preaching the value of education and literature with each word spoken. The audience is enraptured by the readings and gave a hearty applause after each presenter.

Student Samantha Mets gets up to read an excerpt from Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. When asked about why she chose that book she stated “I love this book because it’s very contemporary even though it was written many years ago.” After her, Heather Hanes another student gets up excitedly with her kindle and reads a lengthy passage from Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. When asked what she specifically enjoyed about the book she replied “I’m not much a history buff but this was one book that made me fall in love with the history of Vietnam.”

Don’t think this event was full of women; no some men came out and supported the event with much fervor. For example, Nicholas White read from George Orwell’s 1984. Mr. White took his readings seriously and complied a lot of data on the author and background information on why the book was banned and the arguments presented. After reading a few excerpts from his book he stated “it [1984] was still relevant today with some concepts such as war is peach and ignorance is strength.”

The readings continued amongst the group with such enthusiasm from the presenters and a calm thirst for knowledge by the audience. If you missed it, you missed the essence of what the English Department at Frostburg State University is all about. 

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