Welcome to Banned Books Week, 2019. I’ve made it something of a tradition to participate, and this year is no different! I invite you to join me this year, share your blog posts and check out what others have to say. The link will be open the entire week!
Why do we celebrate Banned Books Week? For me it is certainly tied to the theme of this years celebration “Censorship Leaves Us In The Dark.” It is interesting to look at the books which have drawn the most attention in a year, and to see the way that certain trends we’re seeing in larger social movements are reflected. But what it all comes down to is our rights of intellectual freedom.
I think we always have to bring the idea back to our constitutional rights. What’s important about this isn’t the sensationalism of a banned book; the importance is our freedom in a democratic society to listen to and read and think the ideas we want to think. That concept is essential to democratic discourse.Mary Keeling, President of the American Association of School Librarians.
Banned Books Week reaches beyond the challenging and banning of books, it is a chance to explore other questions around freedom. Challenges happen in many locations, and the restriction of resources can take many forms. The information presented by the ALA each year for Banned Books Week comes from reports received by their office from schools, libraries, and the media. What it doesn’t include is censorship that may not be reported, censorship that may occur in quieter ways, such as by omission (a library or school deciding to simply not acquire a particular book into their catalog).
When you really start to look at some of the challenges it can raise interesting questions, and I would encourage you to really think about some of the reasons books have been challenged. Are there times when a book (or program, game, film, etc), really should be removed?