Library Corner: Censorship and Banned Books Week
“George” by Alex Gino
GCLD Director of Library Resources
Congress shall ————– establish —– prohibiting —- free ——— speech —- or —– the people peaceably to —— Amend—- the U.S. —– September 25, –89. Ratified December 15, ——.
What is censorship?
“Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons — individuals, groups, or government officials — find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, ‘Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it!’” — American Library Association (ALA)
“The freedom to read is essential to our democracy.” This 67-year-old Freedom to Read Statement maintains its significance in the mission of United States’ public libraries.
As difficult as it may be to see an item in a library that is 180 degrees from your opinions, understandings, and values, perhaps take a deep breath and think how this is our First Amendment at work. This is evidence that our intellectual freedoms are strong. Wow! Yes! We are so lucky!
On this note, Grand County Library District joins libraries across the US in celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 26-Oct. 2. The 2021 theme is: Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.
Think of a book (or movie) that stretched your thoughts, compassion, and understanding. Did this experience translate into you reaching across an aisle, a boundary, or a border? Or did it anger you? Did you want to learn more about an issue? Maybe it didn’t change your mind, but did it help you have a better respect for a loved one’s opinion? Or, did you close the book having a clearer perspective?
Being able to better connect with others is one powerful outcome of a well-written story. This will not always be the case with books we read, but when it does, let’s hope communities grow a little brighter and more compassionate.
The ALA reports that there were 273 books challenged in 2020. Here are some of the most challenged books for 2020:
Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”
“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
Hungry for what was censored in the first paragraph? What were some other most challenged books? Want to read a challenged book? Visit your GCLD library and get started on your journey.
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