Each year, ALA (American Library Association) celebrates “Banned Books Week”. This year Banned Books Week is September 22 – 28, though, here in Gardiner, our display is up for the entire month of September.
What is Banned Books Week, you ask?
“Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. “
Above is taken directly from the ALA website. For those interested in the history of when Banned Books week began, the following link will take you directly to the website. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned
The ALA website has several lists of Banned & Challenged books. Looking at the list of “Classics”, I see several, many, perhaps even the majority of titles I was required to read in school, as well as books I have read since then.
Language – vulgar, offensive, profane, racist, foul, and objectionable are the terms used most often.
Other reasons listed are “the violent ending” (Of Mice And Men), “sexual scenes, things concerning moral issues, violence, and anything dealing with the occult” (The Catcher In The Rye), and then, of course the very general “book’s contents”.
As I click my way around the ALA website, there is a page available to see the Top Ten challenges per year. Over the past ten years, it appears that the majority of challenges are to items geared toward children and teens, though there are several adult titles as well. The reasons for challenge are similar to those previously mentioned, with the addition of “LGBTQIA+ content”, “stereotypes”, “sexual violence”, “gender identity”, as well as the all-encompassing “unsuited for age group”.
Hmmm . . . .
As a human being, as well as a library employee, I don’t feel that it is my place to tell you or anyone else what they may read, so these lists all just make me shake my head in wonder.
I will say, however, the more someone says “NO” the more I want to do, so let’s all take a chance and read a book that has been Banned or Challenged, just to be different, or difficult!