We’re celebrating American Library Association’s Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2013) by inviting you to read books that have been deemed “pornographic,” “racist,” “obscene,” and even “un-American.”
The display shelves on the 1st floor of your Library are now home to 28 books wrapped in brown paper, with title and author information hidden. On each wrapper, you’ll find the various charges that have been leveled against that particular book (e.g., “graphic imagery” or “drug use”). What do they have in common? All of these books have been challenged or banned in US libraries or school systems in the past few years. As a point of contrast to these allegations, on the spines of the wrapped books, Library staff have written the praise each has received. You may be surprised to see how many of these controversial books or their authors have won Pulitzers, Nobels, or other prestigious awards, or have been #1 bestsellers!
The books are wrapped in paper to highlight the “dangerous” content some feel they contain, and these wrappers will stay on the books until they’re checked out. We encourage you to take a chance and check out something that will both entertain and challenge you as you come to your own conclusions.
Why celebrate banned books? Libraries serve to connect users to information–not to restrict users’ access to it. As Library professionals, we cannot deny users the right to receive the information they desire because a third party may find it morally objectionable. We uphold the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech, and the corollary right to freely receive information. Some people want to restrict your right to read whatever you want, but librarians are there to stand up for your to be informed and entertained.
You can learn more about Banned Books Week at http://www.bannedbooksweek.org, and by following the #BannedBooksWeek hashtag on Twitter. Check out how libraries around the world are taking a stand for your right to read by highlighting their controversial books.