Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2012 by LibraryAdministration
Celebrating the Freedom to Read
Banned Books Week (Sep. 30–Oct. 6, 2012) is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read. Banned Books Week raises awareness of the freedom of speech through a celebration of challenged books and the value of free expression. Banned Books Week was launched 30 years ago in response to a surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Since then, more than 11,000 books have been challenged. A book is “challenged” when a person or group objects to the materials and attempts to remove or restrict their accessibility; a book is “banned” when this removal is successful. Thanks to the work of libraries and other defenders of the First Amendment, most book challenges are now unsuccessful.
The principle of Freedom to Read is eloquently stated by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable." [Texas v. Johnson, 491 US 397 (1989).]
According to the American Library Association, during 2011 there were 326 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom with many more going unreported.