Central VA Libraries Show Banned Books Exhibits - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Central VA Libraries Show Banned Books Exhibits

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To Kill a Mockingbird, The Call of the Wild, the Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby. For many that list sounds like a high school reading assignment, but according to the American Library Association, they're among the most challenged or banned books in the country.

The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library and the University of Virginia Library are bringing awareness to once-banned, censored, or restricted books this week.

JMRL's Central Library has several exhibits of books that have at some point been banned in schools throughout the country. The library's goal is to promote free community access to all books, especially for students.

Central's branch manager, Krista Farrell, said, "You should be able to read what you want to read and parents - I'm a parent - parents have some, and should be aware and involved in what their children are reading and be able to explain if there are questions of context. That's part of the educational process."

Some think information in books can sometimes be misleading to young readers, and should be kept out of the curriculum until they're older. Just two years ago, a Sherlock Holmes novel was removed from Charlottesville's sixth-grade reading list after parents complained it contained an inaccurate depiction of the Mormon religion.

The Albemarle County School Board says there is a process in place for choosing required reading, and sometimes books just don't support the curriculum.

"It could be a video, it could be something from the Internet or whatever, and it all goes through the same, gets vetted through the same process. It's about what supports our curriculum, because we have an approved curriculum," said Billy Haun, Albemarle's assistant superintendent for student learning.

Haun says the school system sends out a press release 30 days before they officially add a book to the required reading list, to have a chance to get the community's reaction.

There will be exhibits at the Central Library all week. The UVA library has also added an exhibit to its website about censorship.

Reported by Rob Manch

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