The main idea behind celebrating Banned Books is to celebrate the freedom to think and to read. Librarians recognize this as core rights of any individual - the right to read, to speak, and to express.
The right to read has been suppressed throughout history by those in authority. To read provides access to thought and learning, reflection and understanding. For centuries there was a literate group of people within cultures, who had access to the written information of human memory. Banned Books Week spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.
Libraries consider the concept of Censorship to be limiting knowledge. Librarians understand concepts of Censorship are best dealt with by building collections and providing access to knowledge, rather than excluding information from communities.
Welcome to the Banned Books Week celebration here at the Joseph R. Skeen Library!
Humanity has been banning, challenging, and censoring information for millenia. Much of that material is lost to us forever, thanks to other civilizations and societies simply getting rid of those things that were considered dangerous.
Banned Books Week (BBW) was begun in the early 1980s by the American Library Association's (ALA) Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF), in response to the surge of challenges of books in schools, bookstores, and libraries (Banned Books). The first case regarding a person's right to receive information in a library setting under the First Amendment was also heard by the Supreme Court in 1982. Eleven books were at the center of the case, and included titles written by Black authors, books that dealt with prison and drug addiction, as well as a book that analyzed humans as a species in comparison to other animals.
People tend to view the banning, challenging, and censoring of books and other media as a thing of the past. Unfortuantely, these actions are alive and well. Readers will no doubt have heard about the potential banning of the popular social media app TikTok, or that other social media apps such as Facebook or Twitter are banned in countries outside the US.
The theme of this year’s Banned Book Week is "Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read!"
We hope that you continue to read whatever you want, whenever you want!
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