Banned Book Week: Presented by Sigma Tau Delta


Members of CSU’s Sigma Tau Delta

   Those who love the freedom of writing, or have an admiration for banned or challenged literature that has inspired change and contributed toward society, will be able to connect and enjoy the central theme of Banned Book Week: to encourage the freedom of reading, writing, and to work against censorship.


   Banned Book Week is an annual, international, week-long celebration of novels, short stories, and literary works that have been either banned or challenged both within the past and present. Banned Book Week originally began in 1982 as a counter against the sudden surge of banned books within schools, bookstores, and libraries.


   The Sigma Tau Delta chapter at Columbus State University works to encourage and spread the message of Banned Book Week by hosting a live reading event of a previously, or currently, banned work.


   The history of Banned Book Week at CSU has had a long and strong relationship with Sigma Tau Delta. Dr. Courtney George, Advisor for Sigma Tau Delta’s Columbus chapter, explains, “The Banned Books Week read-out has been a tradition of the CSU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta for as long as I have been here — for at least 12 years.”


   Dr. George also shared a story of how Banned Book Week had affected the participants of Banned Book Week. “I can remember one year, after the event had technically ended and all of the event equipment had been put away, a group of five students and faculty sat in a circle on the ground, reading to each other until they finished that year’s text. That is the power of reading a banned book together in an event like this.”


   When asked about the personal value of Banned Book Week, Dr. George commented, “Banned Books Week is so significant to readers and writers alike because it encourages us to seek out and celebrate the real power of language. It should be significant to all people though — not just readers and writers. 


   “When you look at a list of banned books, you will see that these texts often engage with subject matter considered by some to be off-limits for our consideration and discussion — these books are engaging with systems of oppression, with war and violence, with challenges to social norms about identity, and on. If the messages in these books were not so meaningful, then institutions and individuals would not try to ban us from reading them.”


   Reid Griffin, the President of Sigma Tau Delta’s Columbus chapter, shared with The Uproar his own personal appreciation for Banned Book Week. “To me, Banned Book Week stands as a greater representation of just why the humanities are so important. Art and literature help us understand our culture and the culture of others. They remind us of what it means to be human. This celebration unites our community in a pursuit for the freedom to express ideas and realize the harms of censorship. Its importance can’t be overstated.”


  This year Sigma Tau Delta had asked students to vote on which banned work to read for the live reading event. Dr. Patrick Jackson had sent out a survey through the most recent Arnold Holler for student voting and involvement for the Banned Book Week. After a week’s worth of voting, Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” has won.


   The Banned Book Week event will be held on October 1st, 2021 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, outside of the Schwob Library.