University of Oregon

Banned Books Week 2017: Sept. 24-30

Celebrating the freedom to read.

ALA Banned Books Week Logo: reader raising fist

From the American Library Association (ALA) website:

"Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers — in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

"The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. ALA compiles lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools."

ALA publishes the following resources for exploring banned and challenged books by topic, genre, time, and audience.

By Decade: Investigate the 100 most frequently challenged books for 1990-1999 and 2000-2009. (OIF began collecting data about banned books in 1990.)

By Year: Plus annual bibliographies, written by Robert P. Doyle, with information on books that are challenged, restricted, removed, or banned:

·        2015-2016

·        2014-2015

·        2013-2014

·        2012-2013

·        2011-2012

·        2010-2011

·        2009-2010

·        2008-2009

·        2007-2008

·        2006-2007

·        2005-2006

·        2004-2005

Children’s Books: A common reason given for challenging a book is “unsuited/inappropriate for age group.” Authors such as Alvin Schwartz, Mildred D. Taylor and Roald Dahl are listed more than once on this list of 130 frequently challenged children’s books.

Young Adult Books: This list includes books written for YA audiences and those featuring a YA main character.

Classics: At least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the targets of ban attempts.

Books with Diverse Content: The 86 books on this list include content by or about people of color, LGBT people and/or people with disabilities.

"[O]ut of the hundreds of challenges ALA records every year," the organization reports, "only about 10% of books are removed from the location where the challenge took place, thanks to local literary champions such as librarians, students, and patrons who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read."

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