Author of “to be destroyed” book visits Rapid City

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 9:17 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Word spread fast and far when the Rapid City Board of Education slated to destroy certain books within area schools. At the last meeting, the board removed the items from the agenda and according to a statement “have an investigation into how the books were selected”. It sparked conversation among some of the book authors and one made a trip across the country to find out more.

The Rapid City Board of Education has yet to make a decision on books that were “to be destroyed”, but Dave Eggers, the author of “The Circle”, has been vigilant in the conversation surrounding banned books. On May 16 he led a forum with students, educators, parents, and community members. The hope of the discussion: get people involved.

Eggers explained why he is involved in the banned book conversation, “And then we entrust our children to be taught by these trained professionals. When we insert ourselves and try to tell teachers how to teach, what not to teach? Which books to choose I think we are infringing on their professionalism, sapping of their agency and we are destroying what the entire school system and the bargain between parent and school means.”

Egger’s called himself, the “MC” of the evening and brought students and educators to the front of the room to talk about the books and their impact on the classroom. He also inserted his ideas as an author; he hopes that teenagers use books as a way of expressing, “More knowledge about the world outside them, even if occasionally it deals with mature themes.”

Eggers has a positive outlook on the novels and gave an insight on previous book bans, “Let’s burn this one, let’s pull that one, never does it work. We haven’t had any successful long-term book bans in this country, they don’t last.”

Rapid City is the first community that Eggers has come to. While in Rapid City he talked with teachers and students about book bans and is ecstatic about the support he has heard from around the world and right here in our community.

“Look at the community here, the incredible turnout is just evidence that always the vast majority of free-thinking Americans, are interested in and open to, and always supportive of the free exchange of ideas; and certainly, within a literary context.”

Eggers wore a shirt that said, “Let Teachers Teach”, he wore it in support of the teachers in his personal life, and in Rapid City.

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