Celebrate Banned Books Week 2016: September 25 through October 1
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week 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. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country.
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be 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.
Since 1982, Banned Books Week has rallied librarians, booksellers, authors, publishers, teachers, and readers of all types to celebrate and defend the freedom to read. After years of advocating Banned Books Week and protecting readers’ rights and liberating literature, ALA is pleased to unveil this interactive timeline of significant banned and challenged books, highlighting one book banned or challenged in each particular year. In most cases these books presented significant controversy spanning multiple years. The timeline presents only a sample of particularly notable challenges to particularly notable books during this period.
How will you celebrate Banned Books Week and stand up for your right to read?