Banned Books: Come and Read Dangerous Ideas

ALA Banned Books Week poster (2011)

ALA Banned Books Week poster (2011).

People sometimes  wonder what Banned Book Week is all about. In short, it is about celebrating the diversity of ideas present in the written word.

The name of the this celebratory week is somewhat misleading as books cannot be banned in the United States. Instead, books in public library and school library settings are often “challenged.” A challenged book is typically one that somebody wants removed from a library because they feel the ideas represented within the work are somehow dangerous or inappropriate. In others words, the ideas in these books do not map with the individual’s personal ideology.

Libraries resist book challenges because they are bound by professional ethics to represent a broad spectrum of ideas/opinions. Therefore, we place a high value on the market place of ideas and support resistance to the tyranny of those who would impose their beliefs on others by restricting access to certain “offensive” or “inappropriate” material.

And Tango Makes Three book jacket

So celebrate with us by picking up a Banned Book. My pick for the week is And Tango Makes Three, a true story about penguins that adopt an abandoned egg. Yes, people do try to ban books about penguins.

Post originally written by Will Breitbach, former Head of Instruction & Information Services.

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