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Banned Books Party promotes literacy at Jervis

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
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Posted 9/14/22

Banned books are some of the most popular at Jervis Public Library.

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Banned Books Party promotes literacy at Jervis

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ROME — Banned books are some of the most popular at Jervis Public Library. A pair of displays recently set out to promote its upcoming Banned Books Party quickly started disappearing as curious readers checked those books out.

The Banned Books Party is Monday, Sept. 19, promising an educational and entertaining celebration of books that have been banned or challenged in some places. Book banning spans back at least to the early 1600s when an expose about Puritan life was banned by upset readers, said library Director Lisa Matte.

“This is not a new concept - this has been happening since before the United States was the United States,” Matte explained. “It’s not something new but it is something quite serious.”

The event is a part of the national Banned Book Week Sept. 18-24 and is free and appropriate for all ages. It is organized by the library’s Children’s Librarian Emily Rundle and Librarian for Teens’ Services Stephanie Markham.

“This encourages people to think about literacy,” Rundle said. “It is good to be able to hear from people about what they thought about a book. They might be able to shift your own mindset or you might shift theirs.”

Partygoers will be able to listen to readings from banned children’s books, create their own blackout poem and learn how the library’s bill of rights proclaims its stand against the censorship of books and other materials. The differences between banning a book and censoring a book will be explained, Matte added, and there will also be games and activities with prizes related to banned books.

Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for the story portion of the program.

The celebration of banned books is a tradition that goes back to the early 1980s, Matte explained. It started shortly after the United States Supreme Court’s 1982 ruling that books could not be banned from a school library simply because a reader objected to the subject matter. The American Library Association and American Booksellers Association then came together to promote Banned Book Week events celebrating the real truths often found in challenged books.

Matte stressed that Jervis Public library does not ban books ... they will solely be discussing books that have been banned in other places. Although Matte cited the title of the book “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis in saying anything can indeed happen in the future, all of these banned books will continue to be available at the library for the foreseeable future.

“We are fortunate here at the library that the public knows we purchase books for many different people,” Matte explained. “People in Rome come from many different backgrounds and have many different interests. Books are often life changing for the people reading them - they can be an escape but they can also point out injustices maybe in your world or your neighbor’s world. Books will speak to you.”

The Banned Books Party is at 5 p.m. Sept. 19 on the library lawn, weather permitting. If not, it moves inside to the children’s room. It is expected to run about an hour.

Jervis Public Library is located at 613 N. Washington St.

Also at the library

* registration required

  • Monday, Sept. 19, free children’s Craft Kits available; 10 a.m., Tai Chi class; 5:30 p.m., Drop-In Digital Literacy Assistance with Literacy CNY volunteer; 6 p.m., Ukulele Circle for all ages.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20, 3 p.m., Teen Craft Tuesday in the teen section; 4 p.m., Drop-in Homework Help Hour; 5 p.m., Unplug & Play Game Night.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21, 10:30 a.m., Story Time with Ms. Emily, children’s program; 6 p.m., Author Talk: Vincent Palmieri, “Ruthie Deeply."
  • Thursday, Sept. 22, 5 p.m., Mahjong for Beginners.
  • Friday, Sept. 23, 1 p.m., Information Table: The Change Club Project; 3 p.m., Free Play Friday (for teens).
  • Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m., Mandala Painting, adult program.*

 

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