This Week is Banned Books Week
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 01:58:59 PM EST
This annual event is sponsored by The American Library Assocation's Office of Intellectual Freedom and the American Bookseller's Assocation's Foundation for Freedom of Expresion, highlights books that have been frequently "challenged," usually by parents inspired the religious right. Other sponsors include the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of College Stores. Banned Books Week is also endorsed by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress.

Banned Books Week emphasizes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

They note that for each challenge they learn of, there may be four or five times as many that go unreported. On the flip, is  the American Library Assocation's press release, including this year's top five most challenged books, and details of goings on around the country to stand up for the freedom to read.

More than a book a day challenged in U.S. schools, libraries

Banned Books Week marks 25th anniversary September 23-30

(CHICAGO) More than a book a day faces expulsion from free and open public access in U.S. schools and libraries every year. There have been more than 8,700 attempts since the American Library Association (ALA) began electronically compiling and publishing information on book challenges in 1990.

Twenty-five years after the first observance of Banned Books Week, more than 1,000 people stayed past 1 a.m. debating a request to remove nine books - including "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien and "Beloved" by Toni Morrison - from a Chicagoland school district. The books were ultimately retained.

"Forever" by Judy Blume was one of more than 70 titles a Fayetteville, Ark., mother requested be removed in 2005. Twenty-five years earlier, the book was restricted in the Park Hill (Mo.) South Junior High School library because the book promotes "the stranglehold of humanism on life in America."

"Throughout history, there always have been a few people who don't want information to be freely available. And this is still true," said ALA President Leslie Burger. "The reason more books aren't banned is because community residents - with librarians, teachers and journalists - stand up and speak out for their freedom to read. Banned Books Week reminds us that we must remain vigilant."

Bookstores and libraries around the country will celebrate the freedom to read with exhibits, readings and special events during Banned Books Week, September 23-30, 2006. First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. City Lit Theater in Chicago and ALA will kick off the week with theatrical readings from recently challenged books September 24. The ALA also will participate in a virtual panel discussion with author Chris Crutcher ("Whale Talk") and 15 high schools on September 25. Participants will hear about Crutcher's experiences as a frequently challenged author, learn more about the history of book banning in the United States and examine contemporary issues in intellectual freedom and access to information.

The virtual panel discussion is sponsored by MAGPI at the University of Pennsylvania and utilizes Internet2. Additional support is provided by the Ohio State University and Educational Service District 101 in Spokane, Wash.

There were 405 known attempts to remove books in 2005. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. About 70 percent of challenges take place in schools and school libraries. According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.

"We are as busy as we've ever been in fighting censorship attempts in schools and libraries," Krug said. "Libraries are no longer simply about books - but also about DVDs, videogames and online information."

Robie Harris' "It's Perfectly Normal" was the most challenged book of last year. Rounding out the top five most challenged books in 2005 were:

· "Forever" by Judy Blume for sexual content and offensive language;

· "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger for sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group;

· "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier for sexual content and offensive language; and

· "Whale Talk" by Chris Crutcher for racism and offensive language.




Display:
some of Don Wildmon's buddies call them an "extremist organization" pushing porn to kindergarteners.

That's why the American Family Association has stepped up to provide "Christian" internet filters to public schools.  

It just never ends . . .

by moiv on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 04:54:11 PM EST

Doesn't take smart kids long to defeat internet filters.

 



by justintime on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 06:55:25 PM EST
Parent
A geek friend of mine occasionally refers to the "15-15 principle": Give a 15-year-old 15 minutes at the computer, and they'll be in, no problem.

It's along the same lines as the "childproof cap principle": If you can't get one of those pesky things open, get a four-year-old to help you!


by anomalous4 on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 11:58:47 PM EST
Parent



Sounds like they might be watching too much porn. 




by justintime on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 06:59:40 PM EST
Parent


...........one of the best ways to make sure a book gets noticed and attracts a lot of readers is:

BAN IT!

The continued presence of Catcher in the Rye on the list takes me back to my high school days 30-mumble years ago. The school banned it, so of course everyone who could get their hands on a copy covered it with a generic book cover and carried it around anyway. When I finally got hold of a copy, I read maybe a third of it and said:

"BOR-RING!"

And how ironic for righteous would-be censors everywhere that arguably the "most banned book of all time" is:

THE BIBLE!


by anomalous4 on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 05:29:57 PM EST


As a rural librarian, I am glad to celebrate Banned Books Week every year with a display.  It always causes comment (favorable, for the most part) and amazement about the titles that are constantly challenged.  I am proud to say that our library owns all of the "top ten" and they circulate all the time.  Happy Banned Books Week, everybody!

by sheltie on Mon Sep 25, 2006 at 01:14:45 PM EST


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