Every year the American Library Association (ALA) celebrates the right to read with Banned Books Week. It’s an awareness project that features books that have been challenged in libraries and schools.
When I got the Adult Programming position at my library i wanted to do something with Banned Books Week which, this year, is officially 9/27-10/3 and I have. There’s an interactive display at the library and I’ve been doing a ton of research. Research that led me to something that really irritated me.
Last week I found an article where the author claimed that Banned Books Week was a hoax because no book has been banned in America in decades.
First of all, sure, in America it’s been a long time since anything’s been banned on a governmental level but books do still get challenged. Certain schools/libraries do take books out of circulation due to complaints. Last time I checked, that was banning. Other countries do ban things in their entirety. Should we not be aware of this just because it doesn’t happen in America? The other main argument in the article was that you can always order books online, etc. Yes…because everybody in America can afford to buy every book they can’t borrow. (Note: that was sarcasm).
So my response to that article is read the ALA website. “While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.”
There you go. Not only does that negate said claim of inflammatory article but it explains why awareness is still necessary.
So broaden your horizons and read Banned Books. Support the freedom to read!