These are just some of the books that were challenged or banned from libraries last year. All are available for check out from the IRC.

A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich

The Kite Runner, Hosseini Khaled

500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, Elizabeth Martinez

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld

The Glass Castle: A Memoir, Jeannette Walls

Feed, M.T. Anderson

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

During the week of Sept. 22nd, known as Banned Books Week, we celebrate more than thirty years of the freedom to read what we choose and to select our reading from a full array of possibilities.

This year, Banned Books Week recognizes the need for a day of awareness regarding banned websites, which is Wednesday, September 25th.

Over the years, Banned Books Week has come to be known as an educational and awareness tool surrounding the issue of banned or challenged books, but there is a growing censorship issue of overly restrictive filtering of educational websites that reaches  beyond the requirement of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

According to the American Library Association, students, teachers and school librarians are frustrated daily when they discover legitimate educational websites blocked by filtering software installed by their school.  Filtering websites don’t allow students the opportunity to develop skills to evaluate information from all types of sources. ALA states that relying on filters does not teach digital citizens how to be savvy searchers or how to evaluate the accuracy of information.

During Banned Books Week, take a minute to look at the following from the American Library Association website, and imagine a world without forums for information and ideas.

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. 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.

II. 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.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.