Banned Books Week. September 28th - October 2nd. Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read
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Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
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.
-- from the American Library Association
Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported. Therefore, we do not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges.
Background Information from 2001 to 2008
Over the past eight years, American libraries were faced with 3,736 challenges.
1,225 challenges due to “sexually explicit” material;
1,008 challenges due to “offensive language”;
720 challenges due to material deemed “unsuited to age group”;
458 challenges due to “violence”
269 challenges due to “homosexuality”; and
Further, 103 materials were challenged because they were “anti-family,” and an additional 233 were challenged because of their “religious viewpoints.”
1,176 of these challenges (approximately 31%) were in classrooms; 37% were in school libraries; 24% (or 909) took place in public libraries. There were less than 75 challenges to college classes; and only 36 to academic libraries. There are isolated cases of challenges to materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and student groups. The majority of challenges were initiated by parents (almost exactly 51%), while patrons and administrators followed behind (10% and 8% respectively).
And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter ParnellReasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip PullmanReasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R(series), by Lauren MyracleReasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
Scary Stories(series), by Alvin SchwartzReasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo AnayaReasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen ChboskyReasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von ZiegesarReasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. BrannenReasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
The Kite Runner, by Khaled HosseiniReasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle HarperReasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group
And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter ParnellReasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, sexism, and unsuited to Age Group
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier Reasons: offensive Language, sexually explicity, violence
Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman Reason: religious viewpoint
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain Reason: racism
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit
TTYL, by Lauren Myracle Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou Reason: sexually explicit
It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris Reasons: sex education and sexually explicit
The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen ChboskyReasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell Reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, and unsuited to age group
Gossip Girls (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group
Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn MacklerReasons: anti-family, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicity, and unsuited to age group
Scary Stories (series), by Alvin SchwartzReasons: insensitivity, occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, and violence
Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher Reasons: homosexuality and offensive language
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
Beloved, by Toni Morrison Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
The Chocolate War, by Robert CormierReasons: offensive language, sexually explicity, and violence
It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie H. HarrisReasons: homosexuality, nudity, sex education, religious viewpoint, abortion, and being unsuited to age group
Forever, by Judy Blume Reasons: sexual content and offensive language
The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger Reasons: sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier Reasons: sexual content and offensive language
Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher Reasons: racism and offensive language
Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds Reason: sexual content
What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones Reasons: sexual content and being unsuited to age group
Captain Underpants (Series), by Dav Pilkey Reasons: anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence
Crazy Lady!, by Jane Leslie Conly Reason: offensive language
It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, by Robie H. HarrisReasons: sex education and sexual content
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier Reasons: offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence.
Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Meyers Reasons: offensive language, racism, and violence
Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael A. Bellesiles Reasons: inaccurate and political viewpoint
Captain Underpants (series), by Dav PilkeyReasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen ChboskyReasons: homosexuality, offensive language, and sexually explicit
What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya SonesReasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group, and sexually explicit
In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak Reasons: nudity, offensive language, and sexually explicit
King & King, by Linda deHaan Reason: homosexuality
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
Of Mice and Men, by John SteinbeckReasons: offensive language, racism, and violence
WHEREAS, the freedom to read is essential to our democracy, and reading is among our greatest freedoms; and
WHEREAS, privacy is essential to the exercise of that freedom, and the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others; and
WHEREAS, the freedom to read is protected by our Constitution; and
WHEREAS some individuals, groups, and public authorities work to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries of materials reflecting the diversity of society; and
WHEREAS, both governmental intimidation and the fear of censorship cause authors who seek to avoid controversy to practice self-censorship, thus limiting our access to new ideas; and
WHEREAS, every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of American society and leaves it less able to deal with controversy and difference; and
WHEREAS, Americans still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression, and can be trusted to exercise critical judgment, to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe, and to exercise the responsibilities that accompany this freedom; and
WHEREAS, intellectual freedom is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture; and
WHEREAS, conformity limits the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend; and
WHEREAS, the American Library Association's Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year as a reminder to Americans not to take their precious freedom for granted; and
WHEREAS, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Mountain View High School Library celebrates the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, September 28th – October 2nd,, 2009 , and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Mountain View High School Library encourages all libraries and bookstores to acquire and make available materials representative of all the people in our society; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Mountain View High School Library encourages free people to read freely, now and forever.
Adopted by the Mountain View High School Library
Mountain View, California
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; amended June 28, 1967; amended January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 24, 1996.