Banned Books Week first began in September of 1982. The number of books being banned had drastically increased, and this week was instituted to retaliate against this censorship. It is usually held during the last week of September and has gained traction to promote books that are being banned in schools and libraries, and show why censorship should not be allowed. Bookstores, libraries, and everyone in the book community celebrates this week to publicize why censorship is harmful.
Library professionals have the Library Bill of Rights to follow in their careers. This is based on the First Amendment, which guarantees the American people the right of free speech. It was created in 1983 by Forest Spaulding to address the “growing intolerance, suppression of free speech and censorship affecting the rights of minorities and individuals.” Some of the main points in the Library Bill of Rights are that library resources should be provided to everyone, with no exclusions as well as providing materials from all viewpoints, no matter how unpopular. The third article specifically says, “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” Therefore, it is the responsibility of librarians to provide information to all patrons, regardless of their own personal views, and to contest censorship if this becomes an issue.
Many books that are considered classics have even been frequently contested. Books such as The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald for language and sexual references to The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien for being satanic. As time has gone on, there have been many controversial topics discussed in books that have made them contested. However, this often backfires on the people trying to ban the books, because the books get more publicity and more people want to read the book to find out why it was banned.
The Helen Hall Library will be celebrating banned books weeks this year from September 22-28. Come visit the library to see displays of books and find out why they were banned. The reasons might even surprise you!
Young Adult Frequently Banned Books
*These are the books from the lists available in the Teen Collection
The ALA creates a list of books that patrons have attempted to ban at libraries, schools, and in the media. They create and maintain this list so the public is aware of the censorship that is occurring in our country. Follow the link to see if any of the books you have read are on the frequently challenged list!
Admin. (2019, August 21). Banned & Challenged Classics. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics
“Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association, www.ala.org“