OLEAN, NY – Like a book that’s been banned? Then think about reading a passage from that book out loud in the Olean Public Library Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

The library, 134 N. Second St., will host a Banned Books ReadOUT to "bring attention to the fact that all people have the right to read whatever books they want,” Jennifer Stickles, the library’s head of youth and adult programs, explained.

Stickles added, “All libraries follow the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights which states, ‘Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.’ ”

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The Olean library’s display for the 36th annual Banned Books Week includes the following:

  • “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher, banned because of controversy surrounding suicide;
  • “I am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, banned because of a gender identity controversy;
  • “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier, banned for controversy about LGBT characters;
  • “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, banned for sexual violence and fears and suspicions that it promotes terrorism and Islam.

“Libraries provide access to information that cover all political views, religions, cultures, and identities. The role of the librarian is to provide and protect that access to information,” Stickles said. “A library should never silence anyone’s voice.”

Thhe Cuba Circulating Library, 39 E. Main St., will feature a display of over 30 books in honor of Banned Books Week. Included are: 

  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, banned because of the discussion of sexuality and rape and use of “the N-word”;
  • “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, banned because of use of “the N-word.”
  • “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman, banned because of the portrayal of the Church as manipulative and controlling. 

The display will be set up so that people can look at and even read the exhibited books, explained Cuba Circulating Library Director Tina Dalton, who added her “personal favorite banned book” – “Captain Underpants” – will be among those on display.

"Captain Underpants," she said, has been banned in many places because of  its “potty humor.” Some parents find it to be not be suitable for their children to read. 

Dalton is expecting a good turnout for Banned Books Week this year.

“We have had a lot of interest and a lot of questions from people who wonder why books are banned,” she said.

Another area library, the Portville Free Library, does not plan to participate in Banned Books Week.

For further information on Banned Books Week, see the American Library Association website.

The Olean library phone number is (716)-372-0200; Cuba's is (585)-968-1168.

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