Interested in intellectual freedom? So are librarians! For 25 years the American Library Association (ALA) (in partnership with several other sponsors) has used this week to focus on our freedom to read by highlighting books that are challenged or banned from libraries and bookstores. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has lots more information about Banned Books Week as well as other things the office does to make sure information continues to be freely available to all who need it.
One question we hear frequently during Banned Book Week is “what does it mean when a book is challenged or banned?” The answer, according to the ALA is:
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.
Stop by the library and check out our display of commonly challenged books. If you hurry you might even be able to pick up a free “I read banned books” button–there were still a few left this morning!
Rather read online? Google Book Search is getting into the act too with their page of commonly challenged books. While many are still under copyright and not available for free online, classics like Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Sinclair’s The Jungle are there. Also, there are previews available for many of the newer controversial books like the most commonly challenged book of 2006, Richardson and Parnell’s children’s book And Tango Makes Three. No matter how you like to read, we’re making sure you don’t lose access to what you like to read.