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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.