Sep 22, 2013

Banned Books Week

The 2013 celebration of Banned Books Week starts today! You can celebrate from September 22nd to September 28th with us at the library, at home and at school.

You've never heard of Banned Books Week? Banned Books Week is a national effort to celebrate the freedom to read and highlight issues of censorship and free and open access to information. What exactly does censorship mean? Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient by someone. This someone could be a school principal, a parent or a library patron that decides a book is harmful or inappropriate to read and doesn't want it to be available for anyone else to read either. This event brings together all aspects of the book community, everyone from librarians, booksellers, teachers and readers show support for the freedom to express ideas and read whatever you choose. 

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. Many books have been and continue to be banned across the country even today but part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that in many cases the majority of the challenged books have remained available. Thanks to librarians, teachers and community members who speak up for the freedom to read many controversial or challenged books remain available for children and adults to read.

You would be surprised to see many children's titles on the frequently challenged banned books lists, some of which may be family favorites! Did you know that the most challenged book of 2012 was the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey? 

For more information head to the Banned Books Week website or stop at the American Library Association's Banned Books Week website.  Both sites have lists of frequently challenged books, virtual read-out videos, and many resources. 

How can kids get involved?  Check out the Youth Free Expression Project  which supports the rights of youth to access information, as well as their freedom to question, learn, and think for themselves.Kids and teens aged 19 and younger are encouraged to enter their Youth Film Contest. Each year they challenge young people all across the nation to think about their First Amendment rights and the issue of Free Speech. This year's contest, VIDEO GAMES IN THE CROSSHAIRS, asks students to express why video games are important to you. We keep hearing claims about video games being too violent or making kids antisocial. This is the chance for young gamers to speak for themselves on this timely issue. This year's deadline is December 13th! You can also learn about one of the YFEP's initiatives, the Kids' Right to Read Project, an advocacy project that helps educators, students and local activists fight book challenges and censorship in general, by offering valuable support, advice and information.

Stop in the library this week to check out our display of banned and disputed juvenile books in the Children's Department. Snag a title to take home, it's a great way to celebrate your freedom to read!