The South Florida State College library will observe Banned Books Week Sept. 26-30 with activities intended to draw interest in books that have been banned through the ages and into today.

The American Library Association, along with publishers and authors, asks book lovers to take a stand in defense of unrestrained access to books during week-long observance.

The librarians at SFSC challenge readers to go on a mystery date with one of the many books banned over the centuries, including some recent titles. Readers are invited to visit the library housed in the Tutoring and Learning Center on the SFSC Highlands Campus to check out a banned or challenged book.

The books will be wrapped in brown paper, so the title will remain a mystery until it’s checked out by the borrower. Readers, though, will still have the option to choose their own title from a list of banned books.

“People think that censorship and even book burning aren’t happening today,” said Claire A. Miller, SFSC librarian. “Banned Books Week raises awareness and celebrates our freedom to read.”

Every year, persons or groups attempt to ban, or challenge, books from the shelves of libraries, bookstores, and schools. Often, they object to the books’ controversial language, themes, or perceived threat to a prevailing viewpoint.

A challenge is an attempt not to ban a book, but to restrict access to it by borrowers, students, or buyers. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982, according to the American Library Association.

Also intended to raise awareness is a banned books trivia contest. Students from SFSC’s Brain Bowl team will square off against college faculty and administrators in a banned books-themed trivia match. The contest is set for Wednesday, Sept. 28, 12:20-12:50 p.m., in Building B, on the SFSC Highlands Campus, with the public invited to watch.

Held since 1982 during the last week of September, Banned Books Week is intended to raise awareness and celebrate the fact that, thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, and others, the public hasn’t lot access to books, according to Miller.

“People ask me every year, ‘Why anyone would want to ban a book?’” Miller said. “It really varies, but for the most part I think people get offended by something and then decide the book shouldn’t be allowed.”

Miller said many popular books have faced challenges. She pointed to classics like John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and a raft of lesser known contemporary titles.

For more information, contact Miller at Claire.miller@southflorida.edu or 863-784-7305.