Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read Sept 25th - Oct 2nd
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 11:19:04 PM EST
Every year, there are hundreds of documented efforts to restrict or outright ban books from school and public libraries. Many of those responsible for such efforts are groups and individuals affiliated with the Religious Right. The annual list of banned or challenged books run the gamut from Harry Potter to Huckleberry Finn.

Fortunately, for more than 25 years, the American Library Association and the American Booksellers Foundation for Freedom of Expression, among others, have sponsored Banned Books Week to highlight the importance of the Freedom to Read. Both the ALA and the ABFFE have many resources and access to opportunities to participate in Banned Books Week.

Here is the basic description from the American Library Association:


Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read
September 25−October 2, 2010

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.

For more information on getting involved with Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, please see Calendar of Events and Ideas and Resources. You can also contact the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4220, or bbw@ala.org.




Display:
People often ask what they can do about the Religious Right.  Banned Books Week provides thousands of opportunities around the country to highlight the censorious activities of Religious Right groups and individuals, and to stand up for democratic values.  BBW is coming right up, and the ABFFE has even published an online activist handbook.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 02:45:19 AM EST

I don't know if those organizations have mentioned this: if people would like to help (besides becoming activists), they could contact their local libraries and see if they could donate money to help replace the books effectively censored through theft.

It's a big problem... the more the (dominionists/NAR/Religious Right) dislike a book, the more likely it will vanish from the shelves.  In our library, we have security set up- and the 'controversial' books still vanish (a librarian commented one time that they are more likely to vanish than the rare or valuable books).  Talking with a couple of the librarians, they said that replacing 'unpopular' books gets very expensive for many libraries.

I know I've mentioned the book theft last year (and possibly in the years before).  This could be a way to help fight that form of censorship.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:27:10 AM EST

library budgets are tight indeed.

Many libraries to have this problem -- and many also participate in BBW.  My local library has a BBW display and uses the ALA posters.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 12:43:31 PM EST
Parent



The Half-Price Books chain always participates in Banned Books Week and sets up displays of books that have been banned in their stores.

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