Did you know there was such a thing as Banned Books Week? I didn’t which surprised me a bit. I think I knew somewhere in the recesses of my mind that there was a list maintained of top banned/challenged books. I do remember that some of the books that I read in High School/College were at one point challenged or banned. But an entire week devoted to such a thing? No idea.
I do, however, think it’s a wonderful idea. I think it’s a fantastic way to open up discussion in our society, especially this year, about these sorts of things. Maybe, just maybe we might actually be able to come to moments of clarity and the moderates in our country might possibly have the chance to be heard. Maybe.
The American Library Association has a fantastic page on their website that talks about the hows and whys. They also have a list of books that were banned or challenged in 2009-2010.
Interesting tidbits from the list? Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” was challenged in Pennsylvania because it promoted “‘economic fallacies’ and socialist ideas, as well as advocating the use of illegal drugs and belittling Christians.” First off…I loved the book (not surprisingly). Secondly – now libraries aren’t supposed to carrying anything that we don’t personally agree with? In that case I have a list of books that I don’t personally agree with. Except…here’s the great thing about the library…no one forces me to check books out. I can choose to check a book out…or not for any number of reasons I may have.
That’s what I love so much about the library and what makes it such a powerful equalizer – the free access to information. The other thing that’s so great about the library? If they don’t have a book that you want to check out you can typically get it from another library in the system or through Inter-Library loan. And if it’s not available there? You can request that the library purchase it. I’ve done it before, twice in fact. What a wonderful system! :0)
The ALA also has a list of the top 100 books banned or challenged in 2000-2009. I’m going to try this week to highlight a few of the books that we’ve read and check out a few of the ones that we haven’t. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even make it all the way through the list in the coming months. In the meantime, why not check the list out yourself.