Banned Books week is a national celebration of the fight against censorship within libraries. This year, the celebration was held on September 27-October 3. It may be difficult to imagine a book being banned since most of us are not used to censorship in our country.
Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2014, and many more go unreported.
One of the pillars of libraries, as per the American Library Association, is the beautiful Freedom to Read. We’ve already looked at this a few months ago, but it is great to revisit in light of banning books.
A librarian in Mansfield University of Pennsylvania took it upon herself to ban a book on purpose, in order to explain to her community why banning books is such a big deal. She sums up the article by stating “Ultimately, a banned book cuts at the heart of what makes a free democracy work. As Noam Chomsky said during a 1992 BBC interview, ‘If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all’.”