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Banned Books: Home

  Ever wonder why a classic is banned?

See also  Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century from the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. Source: Banned Books: Challenging our Freedom to Read by Robert P. Doyle, ALA 2010.

ALA Intellectual Freedom

"Established December 1, 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials..."  (ALA

Free Access to Libraries for Minors

Free Access to Libraries for Minors - An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources and services available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights.

The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.

Banned Books Week Online

 

ALA: 

"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 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 bbw@ala.org."

ALA Banned Books

"Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries shelves and from classrooms.  According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts..."  (ALA)

Banned Books Week

Challenges

Over the past nine years, American libraries were faced with 4,312 challenges.

  • 1,413 challenges due to “sexually explicit” material
  • 1,125 challenges due to “offensive language”
  • 897challenges due to material deemed “unsuited to age group”
  • 514 challenges due to “violence”
  • 344 challenges due to “homosexuality”

Bedrock Principle

"If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable..." 

Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag in force in 48 of the 50 states.

Free Expression

"If we don't believe in free expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." Interview by John Pilger on BBC's The Late Show, November 25, 1992.  

"If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don't like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favor of freedom of speech, that means you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise."  

 In Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992. (WikiQuote)

The Function of Speech

"Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941)