By September 30, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Please DON’T Read the Books

Every year for a week at the end of September and into the beginning of October (Sept. 27-October Oct. 4, 2008), libraries across the country celebrate Banned Books Week with posters, displays, booklists, community forums and events.

Thanks to the ALA, Banned Books Week has practically (at least in my world) become a major holiday. It is also the time when libraries can engage the public in the topic of intellectual freedom, a value that makes libraries such an important, vital and remarkable part of a healthy, democratic society. The freedom to read, the freedom of access to information and ideas, is a right that we cannot hold lightly. Banned Books Week reminds us all that reading is truly revolutionary.

Every year I pore over the list of books that have been challenged or banned. The information provided about why a book raised concerns, a challenge or even removal is as fascinating as the titles that appear. The lists often read like a book group reading roster, featuring classics as well as bestsellers.  The 2007-2008 list could provide a book group with years worth of excellent titles for discussion.

But what you could try doing is discussing the books that have been challenged the most. Here are some lists to choose from:

Most Challenged Books of 21st Century (2000-2005)

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000

Reading the history of the challenges to a book can only enhance your discussion.

Kudos to each and every one of you out there supporting the freedom to read, in your work and in your book groups.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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