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Library Corner: Challenged Books Week

Polly Gallagher
GCLD Executive Director

Grand County Library District is committed to the basic principles in the Library Bill of Rights. The Library Bill of Rights, developed by the American Library Association (ALA), are the principles a public library uses to govern ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion in our libraries’ services and resources.

The first two principles in the Library Bill of Rights are:

• Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

• Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

The two principles are based upon our First Amendment in the US Constitution providing the right to hear or read all sides to issues to make one’s own judgment without government intervention. The Supreme Court continues to uphold this idea and in 1965 determined that it is not just the right to speak but also the right to receive this information.

Throughout the country, libraries of all kind (public, academic, school, medical) report any challenges to materials or attempts to ban materials from libraries.

Annually, the Office for Intellectual Freedom releases most banned or challenged books in libraries. Below are the top 10, along with the reason challenged or banned as found on http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks.

• “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint.

• “Captain Underpants” (series) by Dav Pilkey. Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence.

• “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group.

• “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. Reasons: Challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”

• “George” by Alex Gino. Reasons: Believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones.

• “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group.

• “Drama” by Raina Telgemeir. Reasons: Banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes.

• “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James. Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other.

• “Internet Girls” (series) by Lauren Myracle. Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

• “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “Contains controversial issues.”


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