Since 1990, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges, including 513 in 2008. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About three out of four of all challenges are to material in schools or school libraries, and one in four are to material in public libraries. OIF estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded.
It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and reading materials like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Slaughterhouse Five, the Harry Potter series, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series, remain available.
In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, the ALA and the San Juan Island Library are sponsoring Banned Books Week (September 24 – October 1, 2011) an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. This year's observance commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society—the freedom to read freely—and encourages us not to take this freedom for granted.
Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. In celebration of Banned Books Week 2011, the San Juan Island Library will showcase frequently challenged books on display shelves in the Library. Click here to access ALA’s list of frequently challenged books including information on why the books were challenged.
The American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the ALA; the American Society of Journalists and Authors; the Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores sponsor Banned Books Week. The Library of Congress Center for the Book endorses the observance.
American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Read an old favorite or a new banned book this week.
San Juan Island Library