Banned Books Week

Saturday, September 24th marked the first day of Banned Books Week 2011.  Banned Books Week  celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.   This year Banned Books Week is being held from September 24th until October 1st.  During this time libraries all over the country hold events to highlight free and open access to all information.

The American Library Association (ALA) provides a list of 46 books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 novels of the 20th Century that have been the target of ban attempts. Here are a few books on the ALA’s  list you may recognize:

  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

There are also hundreds of books that have not been banned but have been challenged.  Challenged means that there was an attempt by a person or a group to remove or restrict the materials.  The Office of Intellectual Freedom cites the following as the top three reasons books are challenged:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”

For those interested in learning more about banned and/or challenged books, you can consult the ALA’s website devoted to Banned Books Week.

The Law Library also has several books devoted to the First Amendment and book banning.  Here are just a few:

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