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Liverpool Public Library offers exhibit on censorship

You won't find a copy of JK Rowling's much-anticipated seventh installment of the Harry Potter series on the bookshelves of Carrollwood Elementary School in Tampa, Florida. The young hero's magical antics have been deemed as inappropriate and unsuitable for children by school administration and parents.

The Harry Potter series is just one of many other literary works under a storm of criticism. Books banned from schools across the country in recent years include Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," currently on the Liverpool Central School District Ninth Grade Honors English summer reading list, and "The Diary of Anne Frank."

"I want people to be surprised. I want them to say, 'Wow! They banned that?'" said Liverpool Public Library Executive Director Elizabeth Dailey, referring to the censorship exhibit currently featured in the Liverpool Public Library.

Through July 27, the Liverpool Public Library, in collaboration with the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship, will feature a detailed exhibit on censorship. Located in the Carman Community Room, the exhibit is a series of posters that spans two walls. It begins to clearly define censorship and different forms of it, then proceeds to describe in detail various instances in history, from the 1800's to today, of censorship in practice.

Censorship has its roots in Ancient Rome, and, as defined by the display, is "the removal or suppression of what is considered by a censor morally or politically objectionable." This was the case in 1873, when "obscene" books were locked in cages and accessible only upon request, censorship is still prominent with literature today.

But the effects stain more than the pages of "The Catcher in the Rye."

"Censorship violates the First Amendment. It violates our protection against our government. Without the First Amendment, we would have no right to criticize. We would lose the basic component of what this country's all about," said Don Parker, co-coordinator of the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship. When people come from foreign countries, that's the first thing they talk about: our right to share ideas with other people."

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