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Information about books that have been challenged or banned and the role that libraries play in affirming freedom of information.
Last Updated: May 20, 2014 URL: http://libguides.scf.edu/bannedbooks Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Banned or Challenged?

 

There is a difference between "challenging" and "banning" a book:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. 

A banning is the removal of those materials.

Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Read more in the American Library Association's website

 

Why?

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information.

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

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

Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights  states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.”

Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

 

(Information retrieved from the American Library Association's website)

 

What do you think?

Your opinion matters to us!  What is your position on this issue?





 

What does "banned books" mean?

banned Books Week 2013

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.

 

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

 

 

Celebrities on Banned Books Week

Bill Moyers, legendary journalist and honorary co-chair of Banned Books Week, has produced a video essay in honor of the 30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week and for the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out. Moyers discusses the importance of our freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. We are proud to present this video entitled, "The Bane of Banned Books."   (Retrieved from the American Library Association's Virtual Read-Out)

 

Where?

This map is drawn from cases documented by ALA and the Kids' Right to Read Project, a collaboration of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Details are available in ALA's "Books Banned and Challenged 2007-2008; 2008-2009; 2009-2010; and 2010-2011,"and the "Kids' Right to Read Project Report."

 

What? More lists of banned and challenged

View the list of frequently challenged books by year and the list of challenged classics by visiting this page in the American Library Association's Banned Books website.

Top 3 Challenged Books in 2011:

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle 
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

Top 3 Challenged Books in 2010:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit.

Top 3 Challenged Books in 2009:

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group.

Top 10 Challenged Classics:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
10. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov

See more here!

 

Banned Books Week 2014

Banned Books Week 2014

will take place

September 21-27, 2014

(Stay tuned for more info!)

 

BBW 2013:

September 22 - 28, 2013

 

Banned Books Week (BBW) 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.

More about this year's BBW

 

What?

Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools.  The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.

See the most challenged books of the past year:

Captain Underpants tops the 2012 list of challenged books!

Read Banned Books Logo

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin SchwartzReasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette WallsReasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni MorrisonReasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
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