Here's a report from Adult Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski.
Next week, the Ridgefield Library will join booksellers and libraries throughout the country in observing the 27th annual Banned Books Week from September 27th through October 4th. While not every book is suitable for every reader, Banned Books Week celebrates our individual right to decide what we read.
People are often surprised by the breadth of titles that are challenged each year. Challenges are formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed. The American Library Association reports that in 2007 there were 420 known attempts to remove books and estimates that for every formal challenge there were four to five incidents that went unreported. This year’s list of challenged books includes such diverse titles as Beach Music by Frank Conroy, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and many of the Harry Potter titles by J. K. Rowling.
The Ridgefield Library will feature displays throughout the building of books that have been banned or challenged. For any questions about why a particular book has been cited, visit the Fiction Desk for a look at Banned Books, a resource guide that details the exact nature of each challenge. And, while supplies last, pick up a colorful bookmark promoting this year’s theme “Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas.” There are versions with artwork geared specifically to children, teens, and adults.
In the words of Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, “We must remain vigilant to assure that would-be censors do not threaten the very basis of our democracy – the freedom to choose.” We hope you’ll take time this coming week to celebrate this precious First Amendment right.