Celebrate Your Right to Read

Each year, the Book Community comes together to celebrate the freedom to read materials that may include unorthodox or unpopular ideas and viewpoints. Books featured during this week have all been targeted for removal from school or public libraries and even bookstores. 2012 marks the 30th year of celebrating your right to read through this national initiative.

While in most cases challenged materials remained on the shelves; many libraries have had to deal with the censorship and been forced to limit access or altogether remove materials.

The library will be honoring Celebrate Your Right to Read Week with a movie and craft night on Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 4pm to 8:30pm in Marvin Auditorium. The movie, The Hunger Games, will be shown starting at 4pm, with crafts following.

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom keeps track of all challenges to library materials that are reported (many are never reported at all!) and below is the list of the 10 most challenged books for 2011. How many of you read? Leave a comment below.

Out of 326 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

Watch the video above. Local students participated in this video as part of American Library Association’s 50 State Salute video project.


Written by Aileen Finney

2 thoughts on “Celebrate Your Right to Read

  1. I see you’re no longer trying to maintain the pretense that any of these books have been “banned”. In this country, books are simply not banned in any meaningful sense of the word, as is the Bible in Muslim countries, and there is general agreement about books that nobody should really be allowed to read, like the CIA’s field manual for blowing up bridges or the North American Man-Boy Love Association’s handbook for pedophiles.

    The link to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom seems to be broken but 326 “challenges” out of 328,259 (more or less) new titles during 2010 doesn’t look like a whole lot of book burning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_published_per_country_per_year#cite_note-2 ). In fact, it doesn’t look like any book-burning at all, considering that last year, those challenges came mostly from parents who think that their children should not be reading particular books, a notion that it’s clear that the professional librarians oppose. In other cases, taxpayers object to money being spent on particular books rather than on some other particular books, again a jealously guarded prerogative of the masters of library science.

    As I’ve observed previously, all but one of the books on the list above is available in the TSCPL collection, and the exception (Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor) can be found on Amazon.com or at Barnes and Noble. These are books that some people don’t like, and don’t want to spend limited resources on, preferring instead to buy or have their own children read other books. What worries me is that the whole manufactured controversy is really about who gets to decide who gets to read what–the parents and taxpayers or the professional librarians.

  2. And by the way, why would a book that contains no pictures be challenged for containing nudity?

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