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Parkland Library honors Right to Read Day


Special to The Press

Parkland Community Library celebrated National Library Week - Right to Read Day, a national day of action supporting and protecting everyone’s reading freedom.

On April 8 there was a discussion titled, “Not On My Bookshelf: How Banning Books Reduces Us All.”

During the talk, Dr. Steve Myers and Dr. Patrick Crerand, both professors from DeSales University, discussed the current state of book censorship in the United States, offered insights into what controversial books can teach us, and argued why banning books leads to a breakdown of community.

Mariann Kmetz, adult services coordinator, welcomed everyone and introduced the speakers.

Crerand argued that banning books is bad because it misunderstands how books work and has negative consequences.

Banning is based on opinion, not evidence. Disliking a book’s content is an opinion, not a reason to remove it, he explained.

Claims about a book’s value need to be backed by evidence.

Crerand said banning restricts access to knowledge.

People should have the opportunity to learn about different viewpoints, even if they challenge their own beliefs. he noted, adding banning a book doesn’t erase the ideas within it.

Dr. Crerand used the concept of implied author and reader to explain how meaning is created in a text.

He argued that banning a book disrupts this process and prevents the book from having its intended impact.

Dr. Myers said he worries that banning books is an attack on ideas and freedom.

Banning books also can morph into attacks on people, especially those represented in the books.

He criticized the recent movement to ban books in schools, especially those that deal with LGBTQIA+ or race issues.

Children deserve their own private reading lives and shouldn’t be restricted, he explained.

Reading is good because it allows the reader to experience different viewpoints and fall in love with characters.

Books should be enjoyed, not seen as a chore, he said, adding banning books can actually increase their popularity.

Public opinion is on the side of freedom to read.

Dr. Myers used the example of the Catholic Church’s list of forbidden books to show that bans are ineffective in the long term.

He concluded his speech by comparing book banning to the burning of books by the Nazis in Germany.

PRESS PHOTO BY MICHAEL HIRSCH Dr. Steve Myers and Dr. Patrick Crerand discuss the current state of book censorship in the United States. Dr. Crerand is director of the MFA program and associate professor of English at DeSales University. Dr. Myers is a professor of English and assistant director of the DeSales MFA program in creative writing and publishing.