“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs.”
- Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
Banned Books Week began in the 1980s following the 1982 Supreme Court case Island Trees School District vs Pico, which ruled that school officials can't ban books in libraries simply because of their content. The American Booksellers Association (ABA) created a display at their annual convention of challenged books in a padlocked cage, and after the success of the display began the event now known as "Banned and Challenged Books Week."
Each year the American Library Association lists the Top 10 most challenged books, along with records of frequently challenged books and resources for fighting censorship.
Our school library does, indeed, purchase and circulate banned and challenged books.
We don't have EVERY banned book, of course--some are simply works of adult fiction that would not qualify for inclusion in a middle school library--but we actively seek out books that students want to read, as well as those that will challenge students to broaden their perspectives and extend their thinking about the world.
We understand that people's reading tastes vary widely, and firmly support every reader's right to walk away from a book whose ideas that makes them uncomfortable.
Celebrate your freedom to read! Pick up a banned book today!
Write a postcard or letter to the author of a banned or challenged book. Let them know you support their freedom to share stories! Find a list of author names and addresses by clicking here.
This article from U.S. News and World Report provides a clear summary of how bans and challenges work, and provides recent examples.
Teenagers share their nuanced views on the various book banning efforts spreading across the country.
The battle over what books kids have access to in schools and public libraries across the U.S. is heating up. Common Sense Media doesn't think censorship is the answer.
PEN America Report on Book Banning in Schools: Banned in the USA
PEN America is a non-profit organization champions the freedom to write, "recognizing the power of the word to transform the world." Their mission is "to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible." This report is one of Ms. Guerin's favorite recent pieces on book banning in America! Read it if you dare!
This article from The Atlantic magazine summarizes 14 of the most commonly banned books of the last few decades, and makes a compelling argument for reading them all.