It's Banned Books Week!
I love Banned Books Week! You probably already knew that, since I started celebrating early.
Given how much I love BBW, you might be surprised to find out I (mostly) agree with Kelly Jensen's article today: Please Stop “Celebrating” Banned Books Week. Here's a snippet of why:
"Celebrating" banned books fuels the idea that it’s books we need to be protecting. It also fuels the idea that becoming part of an elite club of banned books is a badge of honor — a merit earned because of something done on author's part or a means of marketing that book. Banned books week is about none of these ideas. The ability to read any book you wish to off any shelf anywhere is about the freedom to thought. It's about the freedom not to have to jump through hoops to pick up the book everyone is talking about. It's about being able to decide for yourself whether or not you agree with the central premise of the book or the ideas expressed by the author of that book. It's about your right to read and think, free from other people making those decisions on your behalf.
That's what I want to celebrate - intellectual freedom and information access, your rights to read whatever you like and to form and express your own beliefs and opinions. These are precious and worth celebrating - every day!
Banned Books Week, however, has a very important place in the ongoing struggle to secure those rights. Not everyone agrees that we, as individuals, have the right to read whatever we want, and wish to limit our access to certain books that contain ideas or imagery they consider dangerous. That's why the ALA launched Banned Books Week in 1982 - to make us aware of wide-spread censorship and how it impacts our lives. Some of the most powerful books in our national history - books that shaped America - have been banned at some point in time or other. Many still face challenges today. (Beloved made the top ten list as late as 2012.) So, the job of BBW - to make us aware of what someone doesn't wants us to read, and why, is still important. But we need to make that very, very clear!
Here are some great Banned Books Week links (besides the ones I've already listed):
- Affirm the Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week, Sept. 21-27, 2014
- 7 Reasons to Celebrate Banned Books Week
- ALA's 2013-2014 Books Challenged or Banned
- Banned Books Week shines the spotlight on comics
- Cover up: 10 essential banned and challenged graphic novels
- Removing, burning, banning literature has long history/Celebrating ‘FREADOM’/Five classics that have been banned
- Censorship in Libraries and Classrooms: Myths and Realities
- Banned Books By The Numbers
- America's most surprising banned books
- Libraries, Books, & Authors
- Persepolis Challenged in Oregon School District "Banned Books Week is starting off with a bang, as we learned late Friday that Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis faces a challenge from parents in the Three Rivers School District in southwest Oregon." That's the wrong way to celebrate Banned Books Week!
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