Banned Book Week: Think for Yourself

“Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same” is the theme of this year’s Banned Books Week.  Sponsored by the American Library Association, this celebration of intellectual freedom takes place September 25 – October 2, 2010.

The American Library Association tracks reported challenges to books in schools and libraries across the country.  Over 400 were documented for 2009-2010; however, the ALA estimates that fewer than 70% of challenges are ever reported. Many cases, however, do make the news and the blogosphere and remind us that the threat to our freedom to read continues.  Here’s a statement from the ALA website:

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

While it’s true that parents need to supervise what their children are reading and let their concerns be known to the school board, it creates a dangerous precedent when books are banned from the library or classroom, effectively preventing any child from choosing that selection.  One parent’s right to help his child select books should not interfere with any other parent’s right to do the same.

The possibility of facing a book challenge is real, and teachers and librarians should be prepared for it. Organizations like the American Library Association and the National Council of Teachers of English  offer resources and support to libraries and teachers facing censorship issues.  You may have seen lists like this before, but be sure to click here to see a list of books that are commonly challenged

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