Banned Books Week (September 27 - October 3, 2020) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It 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… 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. (American Library Association)
“Challenges” occur when a person (or group) objects to a book or other library material or service and then attempts to have the material or service removed or restricted. A “ban” is the removal of a challenged service or material from a library or school. Articles V and VII of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights state that library users of all ages, genders, backgrounds, etc. should have unrestricted access to the materials and services the library is able to offer. While many times challenges are made with good intentions, it is important to keep in mind that removing a material from a library collection that is objectionable to one person or one group would restrict access to that material for others who utilize the same library’s collection. Because of this, many libraries have a formal challenge procedure that a material or service must undergo in the event a challenge is made which includes comprehensive evaluation and review of specific criteria.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom asks that libraries and schools voluntarily report when materials and services are challenged in order to provide the public with data regarding instances of attempted removal or restriction of library materials and services. Interested in learning more on this topic? Please visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10 to see lists of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of recent years and other relevant data through the years dating as far back as 1990. More information on the Banned Books Week celebration can be found at bannedbooksweek.org or at your local library. We as a library system will be celebrating Banned Books Week on our website and social media pages. Follow along with Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter to see commemorative content created by local library staff!
Adams County Library System continuously works to open gateways for exploration. For more information, please visit our website at adamslibrary.org or contact your local library. We look forward to serving you!
Submitted by Emily Holland, Branch Manager, New Oxford Library