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October 3, 2012

NH libraries recognize Banned Books Week

NH libraries celebrate Banned Books Week

There’s something to be said for those guilty little pleasures, whether it’s sneaking that extra brownie, watching reality TV, or picking up a good book.

Yes, picking up a good book. Especially when it’s national Banned Books Week.

Southern New Hampshire libraries are joining thousands of others across the country in recognizing Banned Books Week, which ends Saturday. They are celebrating the public’s freedom to read whichever books they choose by promoting classics some have found objectionable, usually because of offensive language or their political, religious, sexual or violent content.

Libraries from Pelham to Plaistow feature elaborate displays of books this week — some covered with yellow caution tape — whose availability to the public has been restricted or challenged.

“To me, it’s a big deal this week of the year,” said Plaistow Public Library director Diane Arrato Gavrish. “We sometimes take the freedom to read somewhat lightly.”

Surrounding her library’s display of books are the words “forbidden” and “banned.”

There is a similar display at the Derry Public Library, which is also covered with caution tape. In addition, red tape is plastered across the faces of famous authors whose works have been challenged, including Maya Angelou and Roald Dahl.

Like in Plaistow and the other local libraries, the eye-catching displays are attracting attention. They are also prompting people to pick up a book they ordinarily wouldn’t read, librarians said.

The displays are generating plenty of discussion why it’s important to appreciate the freedom to pick out any book one chooses, they said. Seeing that certain books are banned in some places also surprises many patrons.

“People are amazed to see what books are banned,” said Meryle Zusman, communications coordinator at the Derry library. “There are just many books you wouldn’t expect.”

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