The HS Library Celebrates the Freedom to Read in September with Banned Book Week

This is the news story I sent out to my faculty last week for Banned Book Week (25 September – 2 October 2010), and I thought I would share it here with my Uncommon Readers:

Question: What do these books have in common?

Answer: All of them are Banned Books!

Never fear, we are not banning these or any other books in our Library.  What we are doing is celebrating everyone’s right to read!

Every September, Banned Book Week gives us the opportunity to showcase challenged books, from the classic examples like The Catcher in the Rye (reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (reason: racism) to modern YA fiction like Twilight (reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group).  It’s an annual moment to stop and reflect on the power of the written word and to raise awareness about censorship issues in libraries and schools across the United States and around the world (“Top Ten”).

What do we mean by a challenged book?  The American Library Association defines a book challenge as a, “formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness” (“Frequently Challenged Books”). Each year the ALA publishes the top ten challenged titles in order to “inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools” while openly condemning censorship and working tirelessly “to ensure free access to information” (“Frequently Challenged Books”).

For more information about the number and types of challenges from 2001 – 2009, check out the ALA’s site at:

http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/21stcenturychallenged/index.cfm

The HS Library will have our Banned Books displays up until October Break, so please stop by and check them out!  Read this week and every week knowing that your right to read is encouraged, supported and defended by your ASH libraries.

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