Banned Books Week: What’s it all about?

Commemorated since 1982, Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of our freedom to read.



That freedom, libraries believe (and we hope you do, too), should extend to whatever a person may want to read.

However, there have been numerous examples of state and local governments and school boards attempting to remove materials from library shelves or curricula because of one person or group’s objections to their content.

In the face of these attempts, Banned Books Week brings together interested parties like librarians and educators (and more generally, readers!) “in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” (American Library Association)

But what books are banned? How and why are they banned?

The American Library Association has a wealth of information related to Banned Books Week, including the difference between a challenge and a ban and how books come to be challenged and a list of 10 frequently-challenged books.

The American Civil Liberties Union has an excellent interactive list of banned books. Hover over each one to see where and why it was banned.

Celebrate your freedom to read with us at the Nielsen Library’s Banned Books Week display and mug shot booth (next to the circulation desk on the first floor). Take a mug shot with one of the banned books on our display and share it with us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook (and hashtag it #bannedbooksweek, too, if you think of it), and you’ll be entered in a prize drawing!


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