“Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.” – Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Each year, libraries and bookstores around the country celebrate our freedom to read during Banned Books Week. Since the first Banned Books Week in 1982, the American Library Association reports that over 11,000 books have been challenged or banned in the United States.
A challenge is when a person or group tries to “remove or restrict” a book from a library or school. Banning is when that item is removed completely from a library or school.
J.K. Rowling, Judy Blume, and Stephen Chbosky are among the authors whose works have been banned or challenged in the United States. As recently as last year, there were over 300 challenges reported to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
The individuals or groups challenging these books have wanted them banned for a myriad of reasons. Anti-family (Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples), “depictions of bullying” (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie), and “controversial issues” (The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison) are just the tip of the iceberg. All three of these works were among the top ten most challenged titles of 2014 and are part of our “Read at Your Own Risk!” display.
Celebrate your freedom to read by checking out one of these books, on display in the library through October 5. During Banned Books Week, being held September 27 – October 3, stop by the Library Services desk to get a free Banned Books Week bookmark (while supplies last). And don’t forget search our Overdrive collection for downloadable challenged eBooks like The Hunger Games, Freakonomics, and Looking for Alaska.
Display co-produced by Amy Galante and Kristen Richards from Library Services. Kristen’s favorite controversial book is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Amy is partial to Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more scandalous literary picks from the Bentley community.