The Katharine Brush Library is joining libraries all across the country in celebrating Banned Books Week September 22 — September 28, 2013! Founded in 1982 by library activist Judith Krug, Banned Books Week was designed to bring attention to the issues of censorship, intellectual freedom, and first amendment rights. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the top three reasons given for book challenges over the years have been: sexual explicitness, offensive language, and “unsuited to age group”. Other reasons often cited in book challenges include occult themes, violence, promotion of homosexuality, promotion of a religious viewpoint, nudity, racism, presentation of sex education, and books that are considered “anti-family.” More than 11,300 books have been challenged or banned in the United States since 1982. Last year (2012), the Office of Intellectual Freedom received 464 complaints of book challenges, and the American Library Association believes many book challenges actually go unreported.
During Banned Books Week, many libraries showcase books that have been challenged and/or banned in other libraries or school districts. Examples of some of the most frequently banned books are Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Many modern day books have also made it to the challenged and banned books list, such as Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series, Cecily Von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl series, and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. In 2010, there was even a proposal to ban the Merriam-Webster Dictionary from a school district in California after a parent complained about a term listed in the book!
We would like to invite all of our students, faculty, and staff to check out the banned books we have on display this week on the first floor of the Katharine Brush Library! Come take a “mug shot” of yourself holding a banned book and pick up a Banned Books Week bookmark!