Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Book Week – Think for Yourself

In 1982 the American Library Association took a stand against banning books when librarian Judith Krug established an annual event - Banned Book Week. The purpose was to honor writers, their books and freedom of expression. Book sellers and journalists, authors and publishers associations are sponsoring the event this year. It is mostly due to librarians, teachers and booksellers that most of the books that are challenged are not actually banned. I find it alarming that the opinions of one person might decide for the many what is acceptable to read in a free society.

The three main reasons books are banned are explicit sexual content, offensive content and the vague ‘unsuited to any age group.’ Some books are challenged in school libraries for the reason that they might be inappropriate to the students’ age level. The ALA’s basic policy is that only parents should be in a position to restrict their children’s access to reading matter.

This week is an important time to teach about the First Amendment and to remind us all of the dangers of restricting information. As this year’s Banned Book Week poster reads, “Think for yourself and let others do the same.” Wise and fair advice.

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