Photo of the top of one of the library's bookshleves lined with books that have been requested to be removed from libraries in the past. A large poster hangs above them which reads "Banned Books Week: Readstricted: Banning Books Restricts Our Freedom to Read"

Banned Books Week

In light of it being Banned Books Week, albeit at its finality, and because this is a library, which therefore has some correlation with books; a post concerning the annual campaign seemed appropriate.

First, the defined purpose from the American Library Association’s website:

“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. 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.”

However, a quote from Mark Hemingway posted on The Federalist website conveys another viewpoint on the observance:

“And so we have reached a state of affairs where ‘book banning’ has been defined down to mean ‘making responsible decisions about what reading material is edifying and age-appropriate for school children.’
If you read the fine print at the ALA, the idea that book banning is ‘alive and well’ is exposed for the lie that it really is. Every year, the ‘Office for Intellectual Freedom’ celebrates Banned Books week by publishing a list of ‘Frequently Challenged Books.’ Again, it’s a list of books that are neither banned or even necessarily removed from shelves, merely ‘challenged’ by people from the community for one reason or another.”

Is censorship the true issue at hand? Is it even a genuine, realistic threat that as citizens of the United States of America we are in danger of not having access to ENOUGH information? Personally, I feel intoxicated with just the opposite: an overabundance of superfluous information. Is it ignorant or discriminatory to challenge a book’s presence at your local tax-supported library or school? Does it suppress freedom?

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