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Banned Books Week and Censorship: About Banned Books Week

The Weaver Library online guide to information on the annual Banned Books Week recognition and censorship.

What is Banned Books Week?

illustration of two hands holding a book with the text "books unite us." To the right of the hands is text that reads, "censorship divides us. Banned books week."

 

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

From the American Library Association Website  

Mapping Censorship - Books Banned or Challenged in the USA

Check out more information at Mapping Censorship!

Banned Books Week Twitterfeed

Who Bans or Challenges Books? Why?

Who Bans or Challenges Books?

First, it's important to emphasize that neither librarians nor libraries ban or challenge books!  Libraries are all about the freedom to read and librarians discourage censorship in all forms.  Typically, a book challenge or banning occurs when individual or group decides that a particular book does not belong on the shelf in a library because of something that particular individual or group does not like about the book.  Perhaps they think it uses offensive language or presents an idea that is radical or different from societal norms.  Perhaps these individuals believe they need to protect children or another group from non-mainstream, difficult or controversial ideas and information.  Parents challenge books more often than any other individual or group, but other examples are:  government bodies, elected officials, religious organizations or officials, board members and even teachers!  

Why are Books Banned or Challenged?

The top three reasons why books are challenged or banned are:  sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to any age group.  Other reasons include racism, anti-family, nudity, suicide, drugs, violence, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint and others.

How to Report Book Bans and Challenges

Banned Books Week Virtual Read Out

Check out the Banned Books Week channel on YouTube.  Watch authors discuss censorship and banned books.