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Pinedale Online > News > September 2010 > Banned Book Week Sept 25-Oct 2
Banned Book Week Sept 25-Oct 2
Check out a banned book!
by Sublette County Library
September 22, 2010

PINEDALE– What do books from the Twilight series, "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Catcher in the Rye" have in common? All have faced removal from library bookshelves in the United States within the past year. Join libraries and bookstores from coast to coast as they battle censorship and celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 25 – October 2.

"This annual event reminds everyone not to take precious democratic freedoms for granted," said Sid Stanfill, Director of the Sublette County Library. "Once again we will feature a special book display you may find interesting and informative."

Each year, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives hundreds of reports on book challenges to remove a book from a library or classroom because of an objection to the book’s content. There were 460 recorded attempts to remove materials from libraries in 2009 and more than 11,000 attempts recorded since OIF began compiling information on book challenges in 1990.

ALA notes, books "usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information." The three major reasons for challenging books are, in descending order, sexual explicitness, offensive language, and "unsuited to age group." Other reasons include occult themes, violence, promotion of homosexuality, promotion of a religious viewpoint, nudity, racism, presentation of sex education, and books considered "anti-family." The challenges come from both the right and left ends of the political spectrum. According to the ALA, most challenges are made by parents, and most are unsuccessful.

Some of the most famous challenges have been to works widely considered classics of American literature, including J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Probably the most publicized challenge in recent years was to the highly popular Harry Potter series for promoting "unChristian magic."

"Not every book is right for each reader, but we should have the right to think for ourselves and allow others to do the same," said ALA President Roberta Stevens. "The founders of this nation protected freedom of expression based on their conviction that a diversity of views and ideas is necessary for a vital, functioning democracy. Danger does not arise from viewpoints other than our own; the danger lies in allowing others to decide for us and our communities which reading materials are appropriate. How can we live in a free society and develop our own opinions if our right to choose reading materials for ourselves and our families is taken away? We must remain diligent and protect our freedom to read."

This year will mark the 29th annual celebration of Banned Books Week. Stanfill encourages the community to stop by the library and check out a Banned Book.

Editor’s Note: The only challenge in Wyoming has been in Gillette. Here is a link to the American Library Association and a map of censorship in the US .

Related Links
  • Sublette County Library
  • Pinedale Online > News > September 2010 > Banned Book Week Sept 25-Oct 2

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