Get ready for Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week 2014 starts tomorrow.

Let’s get ready for it:

What is the difference between a challenge or banning?
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.

Why are books challenged?
Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information.

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”

Who challenges books?
Throughout history, more and different kinds of people and groups of all persuasions than you might first suppose, who, for all sorts of reasons, have attempted—and continue to attempt—to suppress anything that conflicts with or anyone who disagrees with their own beliefs. According to the Challenges by Initiator, Institution, Type, and Year, parents challenge materials more often than any other group.

Where does the American Library Association stand on challenging and banning books?
ALA’s basic policy concerning access to information states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

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