As I've grown older, my grandfather's genuine excitement about something as simple as reading a newspaper has stuck with me. I am an information professional, and yet I even need to remind myself that for many people simple access to information is hard-won, and should never be taken for granted. In the United States, we are fortunate to have the freedom to read what we want--although we often forget what that means. Banned Books Week reminds us to value that freedom by taking the time to read books that were challenged or banned at some point in the United States. When books are banned, the authority banning the books controls the information to which people (students, citizens, etc.) have access. By controlling information, the banning authority can then control how those people think. Celebrating Banned Books Week is about so much more than just reading books--it's about celebrating our right to think freely.
All this week, stop in to the library and check out a book from our Banned Books display. Learn why and where these books were challenged or removed from schools and libraries across our country. Take a moment to think about why these books were banned. Why did the banning authorities believe them to be unfit for the public to read? Are you surprised by the reasons some books were banned? Why or why not? Most of all, think about how our right to access information and read books of our choosing should never be taken for granted.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about favorite banned or challenged books you've read.
Have a great week!