For the past thirty years, the American Library Association has designated the last week in September as “Banned Books Week” in order to highlight the importance of free and open access to information. This year the event runs from September 22nd to 28th, and the OWHL will celebrate by creating a display featuring Banned Books along with “Mug Shots” of members of the PA Community “caught” reading a Banned Book. You can join in our celebration by stopping by the OWHL to have your “Mug Shot” taken with a banned book of your choice.
The purpose of our display is to call attention to books that have been “challenged.” A “challenge” is an attempt by a person or group to remove or restrict a book or film. Challenges do not simply involve the expression of an individual’s point of view; they are an attempt to restrict the access of others to these materials.
How big a problem is this? Between 2000 and 2009, 5,099 challenges were reported to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Many other challenges go unreported, so the number is likely much higher.
What are the reasons for the challenges?
During 2012, the ten most frequently challenged books were:
I am pleased to report that our collection contains all but one of these books, and they will be on display for the next two weeks along with other frequently challenged materials that we own. Please vote for intellectual freedom by checking one out.