The California State University, Stanislaus chapter of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Mu Xi, is hoping to raise awareness and draw public attention to the issue of censoring books with a series of events planned during Banned Books Week.
“We have several ideas in the works,” said Alpha Mu Xi chapter President Noel Daniel. “We have approached the Stanislaus County Library here in Turlock with the intention of ‘proclaiming’ it—which is to say that we intend to make a public proclamation that all books will be carried without fear of censorship.”
Along with the intended proclamation, Sigma Tau Delta will also host a dramatic reading of the Greek comedy "Lysistrata " at 7 p.m. Sept. 26. Directed by Kimberly Helm, the reading will be held at Mainstage Theatre at CSU Stanislaus.
The chapter will also hold a “read-out” at Lightly Used Books from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 27. During this event, members from Sigma Tau Delta will read banned literature including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “1984” and “Cat’s Cradle.” Lightly Used Books is located at 141 N. Center St., in downtown Turlock.
“This is a very serious issue and requires the due amount of gravity,” said Daniel. “Censoring an individual’s idea is wrong, whether or not it’s on paper.”
Daniel hopes that these events will open Turlockers' eyes to the issues of censorship and increase awareness about Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week merchandise will be available at both events and bookmarks and flyers will be dispersed throughout town during the week.
Started by the American Library Association, Banned Books Week is an annual event that aims to celebrate the freedom to read all books, even if they are unpopular or unorthodox. The week also highlights the value of unrestricted access to information.
“During Banned Books Week we remind ourselves of the urge to censor and we read those books that once were thought so dangerous as to warrant censoring. During Banned Books Week we remember that reading something doesn’t mean we agree with it or condone it,” said Scott Davis, chair of the English Department at California State University, Stanislaus. “During Banned Books Week we celebrate the activity of reading, encourage it in our children, and demonstrate its salubrious effects to our community.”
For more information on Banned Books Week, visit ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek. Those interested in Sigma Tau Delta or Banned Books Week events information can contact Noel Daniel at 568-0810.