University celebrates Freedom to Read Week
Queen’s Library will mark Freedom to Read Week with a series of public readings by faculty, staff, students and community members from several works that have been challenged including the Harry Potter series.
“Many of the students at Queen’s today have grown up reading this series as each of J. K. Rowling’s books has been published. Unfortunately, not everyone has had the choice. Many schools and libraries, particularly in the United States, and various world church authorities have requested the books be banned for their supposed promotion of witchcraft and the occult,” says Lucinda Walls, Public Services Librarian, Special Collections, Music and Art.
Even with millions of copies sold, the Harry Potter series topped the list of the 100 most commonly banned or challenged books between 2000 and 2009, according to the American Library Association. For that reason, Ms. Walls and Queen’s Library decided to include the Harry Potter series in this year’s Freedom to Read Week activities.
Ms Walls organized a Harry Potter reading on Wednesday, February 29 in the Douglas Library 1923 Reading Room, the one often referred to as the “Harry Potter Room” because of its resemblance to a setting in the books. Members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities will read from all seven books in the series over the lunch hour.
Readings will also take place Tuesday, February 28 and Thursday, March 2 in Stauffer Library’s Speaker’s Corner. Participants will read from other books that have been challenged or banned including, The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Cradle, A Study in Scarlet, and The Anarchist Cookbook.
A planning committee comprised of Queen's Library staff organizes the Freedom to Read Week events. More information about Freedom to Read Week, including the reading schedules for all three days, can be found on the Queen’s Library website.