Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read.
Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information.
“Banned Books Week” supports the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
Every day, libraries provide written material and other media for those who otherwise wouldn’t have access, a right granted through the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The American Library Association has been publishing a list of the most frequently banned or censored books for the past 30 years.
For the past several years, our library has created a display of books that have been banned or censored around the nation.
Invariably, someone will ask “Why would anyone want that book banned? I thought it was wonderful.”
The point is that every piece of literature may be objectionable to any one individual, but any one individual should not be able to decide what is allowable for a whole community.
It’s important for each parent to decide what’s appropriate for their child to read.
Unfortunately, the removal of books and other library resources based on the objections of a few restricts access for everyone.
Consider a library without The Holy Bible, Huckleberry Finn, The Koran, or Little House on the Prairie.
During Banned Books Week, I encourage you to visit your local library and exercise your freedom to read.
The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011 include the following titles; each title is followed by the reasons given for challenging the book:
1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle – offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.
2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa – nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.
3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins – anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence.
4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler – nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie – offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.
6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint.
7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley – insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit.
8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones – nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit.
9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar – drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit.
10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee – offensive language; racism.
Peg Burington is the director of the Waupaca Area Public Library.