Banned Books Week begins Sept. 26

By , September 25, 2009 10:34 am

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is
observed during the last week of September each year. This year it is
from Sept. 26 – Oct. 3. Observed since 1982, the annual event reminds
Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the
freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be
considered unorthodox or unpopular. It stresses the importance of
ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints
to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist
only where these two essential conditions are met.

From 2001 to 2008, of the 3,736 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom:

  • 1,225 challenges due to “sexually explicit” material;
  • 1,008 challenges due to “offensive language”;
  • 720 challenges due to material deemed “unsuited to age group”;
  • 458 challenges due to “violence”
  • 269 challenges due to “homosexuality”; and

Further, 103 materials were challenged because they were
“anti-family,” and an additional 233 were challenged because of their
“religious viewpoints.”

1,176 of these challenges (approximately 31%) were in classrooms;
37% were in school libraries; 24% (or 909) took place in public
libraries.  There were less than 75 challenges to college classes; and
only 36 to academic libraries.  There are isolated cases of challenges
to materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries,
community groups, and student groups.  The majority of challenges were
initiated by parents (almost exactly 51%), while patrons and
administrators followed behind (10% and 8% respectively). 


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