Did you know that September 23-29, 2018 is Banned Books Week? What is Banned Books Week? Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read! Launched in 1982 in response to a sudden increase in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries, Banned Books Week is usually held during the last week of September. During this time, libraries across the country raise awareness about the value of free and open access to information. To learn more about why books have traditionally been challenged and banned, stop by the Katherine Brush Library this week and check out our Banned Books Week book display on the second floor.
Words have power and access to diverse viewpoints makes us all more powerful by forcing us to think, question, and reexamine our own ideas, thereby encouraging personal growth and leading to better conversations and a greater community understanding. The Katherine Brush Library will be joining libraries across the country during the week of September 24-September 30 to mark the annual Banned Books Week celebration. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books highlighted during Banned Books Week — some of which we have on display on the second floor of the library — have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be challenged and/or banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read. Remember, words have power. Let’s use ours to speak up and out against censorship and book banning.
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Does this quote sound familiar? Those of you who have read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird may recognize it as a passage the character Scout uses to explain how her appreciation for the ability to read and the time she spent reading grew out of the realization that she may no longer have that experience of reading at home with her father again.
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is an important, Pulitzer Prize winning, book about racism and rape, set in the American South, that has been read all across the country by high school students since it was first introduced in the classroom in 1963. A 2008 survey indicated that it has become the most widely read book in school across this country. The American Library Association (ALA) also finds that the book is among the most challenged and banned books, many years making it to the “Top 10” list, meaning that people continually question whether or not students should have access to the book.
This above quote found in To Kill A Mockingbird therefore not only speaks to the importance of access to books, but is also symbolic of the fight against censorship. Libraries across the country, including the Katharine Brush Library at Loomis Chaffee, are celebrating the fight to end censorship this week, September 21-27, referring to the week as Banned Books Week. Learn more about challenged and banned books by checking out our second floor library display.