Launched in 1982, Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom read by shining a light on books that have been challenged or banned. According to the American Library Association, "Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."
BiblioTech, along with the American Library Association and countless other organizations, commemorates Banned Books Week as a way to celebrate intellectual freedom and to encourage discovery through reading. You can learn more about the history of Banned Books Week here. There is also a Banned Books Week YouTube channel that features lists of the top banned books, as well as some virtual read-out videos.
Why are books banned? Children's titles and young adult books are often challenged or banned by adults who think the content is not suitable for youth - though adult titles are often challenged as well. ALA compiles a list of the most challenged books from last year each April. Here is the 2019 list. We've highlighted a few of these below, and there are many more on our cloudLibrary Banned Books Week shelf.
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
- George by Alex Gino - Reasons: for "creating confusion", including a transgender character, describing male anatomy
- A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss - Reasons: for including LGBTQIA+ content, political viewpoints
- Drama by Reina Telgemeier - Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”
The best way to celebrate Banned Books week is to read a banned book! In addition to our cloudLibrary shelf, check out Hoopla's list of banned books, which includes banned or challenged comics. If you would like to learn more about the history of banned books, listen to the Banned Library podcast. Libraries are at the forefront of the fight against censorship, so be sure to register for a BiblioTech library card today to show your support if you don't already have one.
Want to do even more? Share this article with someone who loves books. You can also write a letter to a Banned Author to show your support. Lastly, you could share your story on social media using the #DearBannedAuthor hashtag. Be sure to tag us if you do! We're on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Stand with the banned and read a Banned Book today!
Check out more BiblioTech News articles with reading recommendations and more.