Well now, what kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t mention Banned Book Week on my blog?
The American Library Association (ALA) has posted the 10 most frequently banned books and authors of 2007. I’ve posted the list below the link. I must say that some of these authors are repeat offenders, and I am glad that this is being brought to attention. Although my library doesn’t receive many complaints about books, I haven’t had to figure out the psychology behind the “I didn’t like it, so no one else should read it” mentality.
This is what ALA had to say about BBW on their website:
Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW’s 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).
BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
BBW is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
Intellectual freedom, censorship and copyright issues are some of the most prevalent issues libraries deal with on a daily basis. We are just gatekeepers to information. Librarians aren’t parents or guardians. We are not responsible for sitting down a child and explaining why certain materials are not age appropriate. That should be the parent’s responsibility. Its never fair that parents try to shirk away that responsibility just by getting rid of the book. The problem will resurface eventually.
Most libraries will have some sort of display or lists of frequently banned books. Many other locations, college campuses, bookstores, etc, will be hosting read-outs. My former college is hosting a read-out today, gathering people to read 15-20 minutes from their favorite banned book. I unfortunately won’t be able to make it, but you can check out this link to find out what is going on in your state and local area.