Note: We are recycling this blogpost from 2014 to commemorate Banned Books Week which is celebrated September 25 - October 1. This year's theme is Celebrating Diversity.
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”— Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, 1953
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Wrinkle in Time, and even the Harry Potter and Twilight series are just a few of the books that have ended up on banned and challenged books lists over the years. Although books are more frequently challenged rather than outright banned these days, many individuals and groups of people continue to try and suppress or restrict literature that they disagree with or that conflict with their own personal beliefs. In fact, Twilight and other supernatural young adult novels were challenged
in Austin, Texas at the Austin Memorial Library just last month.
The Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (ALA) tracks such challenges and publishes lists of frequently challenged books on its website. In the past decade, the ALA reports that over 5,000 challenges were reported. The reasons for such challenges range from objections to offensive language and explicit sexuality to simply being “a real bore” (The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank).
Banned Books Week, September 21-27, was started in 1982 by the ALA to bring awareness to “the value of free and open access to information.” The event “brings together the entire book community--librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types--in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” The ALA and Banned Books Week also “stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them.”
Check out HPL’s Banned Books Week Pinterest board. Are any of your favorites on the list? Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and 1984 by George Orwell are among the most iconic banned books. Surprisingly, though, even children’s books like the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey are frequently challenged.
This year Banned Books Week is also spotlighting challenges to comic books and graphic novels in conjunction with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi are among the most popularly challenged graphic novels. Satrapi's novel was even banned at a Chicago high school last year.
I have MY Link. Do YOU have yours?
Use your valid MY Link library card to access banned and challenged e-books and audiobooks via OverDrive, Hoopla, and OneClickDigital. ComicsPlus also offers access to thousands of comics, manga, and graphic novels. Find these streaming and downloadable media services on the E-books & More page. Here are just a few examples of banned and challenged e-books and audiobooks that are available through the above sources:
- The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
- 1984, by George Orwell
- Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
- Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
- Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
- The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
--Jeanette, Cataloging & Metadata