Banned Books Week celebrates our freedom to read what we choose and we celebrate it during the last week of September every year. Activities during the week highlight the value of having free and open access to information as well as the attempts to hinder that access. Every year, the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the most banned and challenged books from the previous year as well as the reason they were banned or challenged. You can see the information for 2020 in the infographic below. This research guide also provides more information on people who challenge books, legal issues, historically banned books, and ways that you can find out more information and get involved in celebrating the freedom to read.
"The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read." From the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Statement
"A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others." American Library Association
A banned book is when a challenge to a book is successful in removing or restricting access to materials, therefore restricting access of others to those materials.
"Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight." -Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower