Banned Books Week:
- Celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.
- Draws attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society
- Stresses the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature
The books above are just a sample of young adult books that have at one time (but for most, many times) been challenged, temporarily removed and/or banned. It is not uncommon for a challenged book to be labeled as "pornographic," "disgusting," "offensive," "sick," "too intense" and "blasphemous."
Usually, books are challenged by a desire to protect the intended audience from the content of the book. While this is a commendable motivation, librarians and governing bodies have made clear that only parents have the right to restrict access to their own children. Censorship by librarians, for any reason, is a direct violation of the First Amendment. Therefore, it is a library's responsibility to challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment. (ALA Library Bill of Rights).
Yes, banned and challenged books may contain mature material that some might find offensive; it does not, however, warrant removal from a public place. These books should be read thoughtfully, discussed and used as a tool to see different walks of life--the good and the bad--to broaden the mind of the reader.
And not only do libraries feel this way, authors do too. Click on an author to find out their response to censorship:
For more information on censorship and the intellectual freedom that is supported by libraries, visit the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Library Association.