What do books from the Twilight series, To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye have in common? All have faced removal from library bookshelves in the United States within the past year.
From coast to coast, libraries and bookstores will battle censorship and celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 25 – Oct. 2, 2010. Thousands of participants will read from banned or challenged books and will discuss the impact censorship has on civil liberties. This year will mark the 29th annual celebration of Banned Books Week.
Each year, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives hundreds of reports on book challenges, which are formal written requests to remove a book from a library or classroom because of an objection to the book’s content. There were 460 recorded attempts to remove materials from libraries in 2009 and more than 11,000 attempts recorded since OIF began compiling information on book challenges in 1990.
“Not every book is right for each reader, but we should have the right to think for ourselves and allow others to do the same,” said ALA President Roberta Stevens. “The founders of this nation protected freedom of expression based on their conviction that a diversity of views and ideas is necessary for a vital, functioning democracy. Danger does not arise from viewpoints other than our own; the danger lies in allowing others to decide for us and our communities which reading materials are appropriate. How can we live in a free society and develop our own opinions if our right to choose reading materials for ourselves and our families is taken away? We must remain diligent and protect our freedom to read.”
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (of which the New Hampshire Center for the Book is an affiliate).
I encourage you to celebrate banned books week by reading whatever you want and letting those around you do the same.