Banned Books Week
Sep
27
2009

I’m a day late because of this damned swine flu so please excuse my tardiness! I have celebrated this each year for the last three so I definitely didn’t want to break the tradition and it’s a very important cause to highlight as well. Since I’m actually beginning to feel human again, I thought I’d get my butt in this chair and put a post up!

This comes directly from the Banned Books Week section at the ALA site:

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

For more information on getting involved with Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, please see Calendar of Events and Ideas and Resources. You can also contact the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4220, or email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Books offer people of all ages, races and genders a chance to learn, to fall into another world for a few hours, to be shocked, excited, angry, puzzled, pleased, intrigued and entertained. There’s nothing in the world like a book – so seemingly simple but integral to a free and open society.

Book banning is a strike against the foundations of intellectual freedom and democracy, it seeks to enforce the opinion of one onto everyone. This is intolerable when the alternative is simply putting a book down if it bothers you so very much.

10 comments to “Banned Books Week”

  1. Chris
    September 27th, 2009 at 7:09 pm · Link

    I hope you are feeling better! I have a button in my cubicle at work: “I read banned books.” Not that probably any of my coworkers read it. But still.



  2. Dan Kleinman
    September 27th, 2009 at 9:10 pm · Link

    These Banned Books Week resources may also be of interest:

    American Library Association Shamed,” by Nat Hentoff, Laurel Leader-Call, 2 March 2007.

    Banned Books Week and the ALA,” by Dennis Ingolfsland, The Recliner Commentaries, 4 August 2009.

    “‘Censors’ Are So Scary,” by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 6 October 2008.

    Finding Censorship Where There Is None,” by Mitchell Muncy, Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2009, p.W13.

    National Hogwash Week,” as coined by Thomas Sowell. And this resource has a long, updated list of BBW-related articles.

    US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books,” by Sara Hussein, Agence France-Presse [AFP], 6 September 2009.



  3. RKCharron
    September 28th, 2009 at 2:19 am · Link

    Hi Lauren :)
    Thanks for the great post.
    I’m glad you are beginning to feel better!
    I’m going to read Huckleberry Finn in honor of Banned Books week.
    :)
    All the best,
    Get Better & Recuperate,
    Love Rob
    xoxo



  4. laurendane
    September 28th, 2009 at 6:20 am · Link

    Dan, don’t you have a new tune? You come to my blog and do this every year. It’s sort of sad.

    Why not actually present your opinion as a post instead of giving links? Just say you think censorship is awesome like a big boy.



  5. Christine
    September 28th, 2009 at 7:13 am · Link

    It’s amazing in that we even have to discuss this. What are still burning witches.



  6. Natasha A.
    September 28th, 2009 at 11:50 am · Link

    I do hope you are feeling better!



  7. Dan Kleinman
    September 28th, 2009 at 4:06 pm · Link

    Ms. Dane,

    I’ll be more specific. First, clear your mind of preconceived notions you may have about me. My concerns are relatively accurately reflected in the AFP article I linked. Read that. Then, know that I support authors to write anything they please. See “SafeLibraries Loves Authors and Opposes Censorship; Please Visit Brent Hartinger’s New Fantasy Venture: TheTorchOnline.com.

    The problem is solely with the Office for Intellectual Freedom within the ALA. It misleads people about a number of issues, then works to muzzle any possible independent thinking by local communities. You may or may not agree with that, but certainly you are not also politely suggesting that I shut up, are you?

    Ms. Dane, do you think in a situation where inappropriate material may be legally kept from children that misinformation should be used to convince people to ignore those legal means? Do you think people like me who evidence that very injustice should be shut out of discussion on the issue?

    Think.



  8. laurendane
    September 28th, 2009 at 4:34 pm · Link

    If I suggested you shut up, I’d have deleted your responses, would I have not? The only person here who was apparently raised without manners is you.

    Let me school you, since you lack social skills – this is my blog. I won’t stop you from spouting your silliness, unless you continue to be rude. People from your perspective are usually silly and rude, it’s the same kind of thing we see on the nightly news. It’s boring and not very clever.

    It is not an injustice that you and your friends don’t get to decide what other children read. It’s not your right and it’s not your job. For libraries to highlight small minded people who spend their time trying to ban things most of them haven’t even bothered to read is not an injustice. What *is* an injustice is that you all seem to believe it’s your duty to decide what others can see or read.

    *I* am best suited to decide what is appropriate for my child. Just as *you* are best suited to make those choices for your household. It’s certainly NOT “an injustice” when you can’t censor my children’s reading material.

    As far as I can tell, from all your links, you are not being shut out at all, though I do find it laughable and sadly ironic that those who call to censor complain of being censored.

    I believe children SHOULD read Bless Me Ultima, I believe they should read Harry Potter, The Dark Materials books, I believe they should read Heather has Two Mommies. I believe censors should keep their religion in their home instead of mine and stop whining when they can’t control what everyone else thinks.

    I do think, Dan, you should try it sometime as well. Read a book, I hear they’re good for you.



  9. Pamk
    September 30th, 2009 at 9:05 am · Link

    Well stated Lauren. I have always said if I ever met JK Rowling that I would hug her. Heck if she was a male I’d kiss her lol. She is the reason my 19 yr old son is as well read as he is. He loathed books until I read the first Harry Potter to him at 8 and he has went on to read them all and most fantasy books he can get his hands on. I never had to worry what he read cause he wouldn’t read unless you forced him to as per an assignment in school now my youngest i have to censor his material. If I don’t he would go to my bookshelves willy nilly and pick what looked good to him and frankly he”s not old enough for books like Triad though he’d read it if I’d let him rofl.



  10. Lisa V
    October 1st, 2009 at 7:06 pm · Link

    Books are a way I believe that we can broaden our understanding and from there make up our own mind. If books are to be banned, does this not then make them even more alluring? Also, can’t books just be enjoyed for the stories they present rather than a threat to some people’s beliefs or in some cases narrow mindedness?

    I make it a point to re-read a book that was banned…it is a little protest but one that is important in any society.

    Thanks for the opportunity to bring it up each year Lauren!



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