Monday, September 21, 2009

American Library Association Celebrates Banned Books Week

The American Libraries Association (ALA) website has posted lots of interesting material in anticipation of the upcoming Banned Books Week in the United States.

It takes place September 26−October 3, 2009 and "celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them."

The Banned Books section of the ALA website contains resources for suggested activities (displays, films, etc.) as well as an annotated list of Banned and/or Challenged Books in the 20th century.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Other Library Boy posts on the issue of challenged books and censorship include:
  • Censorship in Canada - Freedom to Read Week (February 25, 2005): "When I was very young, my father would sometimes shock me with accounts of the books that authorities had tried to censor when he was young. It sounded like this could never happen to my generation, or if it did, it could only occur in dictatorial states, or in the more unenlightened Good Ol' Boy parts of the USA. Unfortunately, the reality is that censorship occurs here too, even today..."
  • Challenged Books in the US and Canada (March 16, 2006): "One of the resources produced by the sponsors of the [freedom to read] week is a list that provides information on more than 100 books that have been challenged in Canada in the past few years. Most challenges have to do with sex, homosexuality, religion or race."
  • Banned Books Week - USA 2006 (September 13, 2006): "To Kill a Mockingbird. Of Mice and Men. The Great Gatsby. 1984. It's hard to imagine a world without these extraordinary literary classics, but every year there are hundreds of attempts to remove great books from libraries and schools. In fact, according to the American Library Association, 42 of 100 books recognized by the Radcliffe Publishing Course as the best novels of the 20th century have been challenged or banned."
  • Freedom to Read Week Next Month (January 24, 2007): "Freedom to Read Week will be taking place once again all across Canada from February 25th to March 3, 2007."
  • Survey of Challenged Books in Canadian Libraries (February 24, 2008): "In advance of Freedom to Read Week, February 24 to March 1, 2008, the Canadian Library Association has released the results of its 2nd annual Survey of Challenged Materials in Canadian Libraries (...) 'Many of the books and DVDs were challenged by parents and grandparents who found the materials to be age-inappropriate, sexually explicit, violent, racist, or questioned family values. Included in the 2007 challenges were Masterpiece Theatre’s DVD of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, citing a 'childbirth depiction', and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman for religious viewpoints'."
Canada's next Freedom to Read Week takes place February 21-27, 2010.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:38 pm


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Teaching Tolerance Project also offers some good resources -- aimed at K-12 teachers -- for Banned Books Week. Check out

11:07 am  

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