The Algonquin library stocks banned books for students to read regardless of the censorship they may have faced in the past.
“It’s important that people read things and make their own opinions, particularly where we serve an adult population,” said Brenda Mahoney, a librarian at Algonquin.
Mahoney said in her 20 years at Algonquin, only one complaint has been filed about the content in the library. It was an issue of Ms. Magazine, a feminist publication, featured the phrase “virgins or sluts” on a headline.
“It was meant to be provocative and this person was provoked. They wanted to take it down and have it hidden because the words offended her.
“They didn’t want to know about the content, or to debate feminism and the power of words,” said Mahoney.
For instances in which a content is challenged, borrowers can file a formal complaint. This form is rarely requested at Algonquin.
“I think it’s important to celebrate that we do live in a place where we are allowed to read whatever we want,” said Meagan McGinley, a library technician.
Previously, Algonquin had literature courses so the library was stocked with several classics and other novels as a result. Some of these books include: A Clockwork Orange, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird, all of which have been banned or challenged throughout their histories of publication.
More modern books that have been challenged in the library include The Kite Runner and the Harry Potter series.
Mahoney said that books such as the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were originally banned because the novel mentioned the characters being sweaty and spitting, with some opposed to its use of racial slurs.
“To say ‘that’s not okay for us to say now’ and then we ban it, something that came from the past, then we won’t know how far we came,” said Mahoney.
Many of the books in the library are stocked according to the programs on each campus. Pembroke has a larger selection of banned children’s books due to its thorough early childhood education program.
“If you affect how people learn than you affect society in the future,” said Mahoney.