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Every September, the library displays books that have been challenged or banned for offensive content.

PMG PHOTO: KAELYN CASSIDY - Wilsonville librarian Malia Laughton creates displays for Banned Books Month.In 2018, the Wilsonville Public Library was asked to remove the book "The Teacher's Pet" by Anica Mrose Rissi from its shelves.

The challenger was offended by the author's use of the word "fart."

The request was reviewed, and the book was ultimately retained, said Library Director Shasta Sasser.

Once a year, the Wilsonville library and other branches across the country celebrate books that have been challenged or banned for Banned Books Month. For the entire month of September, the library has displays dedicated to books old and new, from Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax" to S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders," that all have one thing in common: someone, somewhere was offended by them.

Nationally, the American Library Association and Amnesty International promote an annual Banned Books Week (this year it was Sept. 18-24), but the Wilsonville library expands the concept for a full month.

"There's something to offend you in every library," said librarian Malia Laughton, who creates the library's displays for Banned Books Month.

This year, Laughton's displays obscure each book's title, leaving library patrons with only the reason why the book was banned and occasionally a summary to base their selections on.

"Banned books have always been one of my passions," Laughton said. PMG PHOTO: KAELYN CASSIDY - The display can be found at the library throughout this month.

As an 8-year-old living in France, Laughton began reading more adult books, like "Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean M. Aeul. Her parents had already read the book, she said, and were OK with answering questions she had about it.

When she moved to the U.S., she was shocked to see the book on a banned books display in a library because one scene depicted a rape.

"It just blew my mind that this book was banned," Laughton said. "It made me have to read the book over again because I didn't even remember the rape scene."

As she looked at the rest of the display, she noticed even more books on the shelves that she had already read.

"Every year when the library would do a display, I was fascinated by it," Laughton said. "And when I got (to the Wilsonville Library), I asked if I could start doing some of the displays. I just have fun finding unique ways to show why books were banned or challenged."

Reading these books opens your mind, Laughton said. There are things she doesn't like to read, but she said it's good to do so anyway and find out why she doesn't like them.

"Books inspire people; books encourage people to do things, and they're comforting," she said. "And to have someone take that away from me, I wouldn't want to live."


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