by Claire, Anderson-Foothill Branch
Happy Banned Books Week!
Banned Books Week is the week that Librarians across the United States celebrate your right to have access to read what you want! Libraries display proudly books that were Banned or Challenged at other libraries.
A Challenged Book is a book that someone believes others should not have access to and challenges its place in a library. The goal of challenging a book is to remove it from a library shelf, making what is inside the book, unknown to everyone.
A Banned Book is where a library chooses to remove an item from their shelves, denying access to the information or enjoyment contained in that book to people.
Banning and Challenging the ideas or stories in books (or other things!) is a form of Censorship. Censorship is the removal or denial of access to information.
Teen and Children’s books are often the most banned and challenged books. Check out the American Library Association list of The Top Ten Banned and Challenged Books by year.
For the 2019 year, 9 out of 10 of the most frequently banned and challenged books were for kids or teens!
What Types of Books get Banned or Challenged?
ALL types for ALL types of reasons!
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, a children's picture book about real penguins at the Central Park Zoo, was challenged for being: “anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. And because it “promotes the homosexual agenda”.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, the now almost 15 year-old teen vampire love story, is often banned and challenged for “religious viewpoint, and violence”.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, the runaway bestseller about a Black teen whose childhood friend was killed by a police officer, was on the National Book Award long list. It is banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references.
Why Does This Even Matter?
There are many different viewpoints, thoughts, opinions, interests ideas as there are people in the world. The right to think for yourself and obtain information you want is called Intellectual Freedom. The idea of Intellectual Freedom is old! So old that it is in the Bill of Rights, supported by the First Amendment!
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791.
The hard part about Intellectual Freedom is that there are so many different types of people in the world with different ideas and beliefs. Some of those beliefs and ideas may be disliked by others, and some may even be offensive. But that’s how Intellectual Freedom works it for everyone.
A great librarian I once knew once told me “Were the public library. We serve everyone if we don’t have something that offends you. Were not doing our job.”
If you ever experience book banning, challenging or censorship, report it to the Office of Intellectual Freedom.
If you have any thoughts or questions about banned books week, ask your librarian, or put something in the comment section below!
"Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists", American Library Association, March 26, 2013.
http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10 (Accessed August 31, 2020)
Document ID: 8417fa9e-ceff-4512-aca9-9fbc81b8bd81
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