[This is a guest post from Angela Schneider, Programming & Adult Services Librarian.]
Harry Potter… Captain Underpants… Catcher in the Rye…
Every year, there are hundreds of attempts to remove books from the shelves of bookstores, libraries and schools. Celebrate the freedom to read what you want, and the library’s promise to help make that possible, during Banned Books Week, September 27 - October 3, 2015. Visit the library to check out a frequently challenged title, now on display.
The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. They compile lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. The top ten most frequently challenged books of 2014 include:
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying.”
- Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions.”
- And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda.”
- The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues.”
- It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris. Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography.”
- Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
- The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation.”
- A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard. Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
- Drama, by Raina Telgemeier. Reasons: sexually explicit.
According to the American Library Association, “Our goal is not to focus on the numbers, but to educate the community that censorship is still a very serious problem. Even with all of our efforts to follow up and provide support, surveys indicate that up to 85% of book challenges receive no media attention and remain unreported.” For more information on ALA's efforts to raise awareness of censorship and promote the freedom to read, please explore Banned Books Week.