Wednesday September 23, 2015

You have to fight for your right to … read?

You’re thinking that book-banning isn’t really an issue in the good ol’ USA anymore, right? Well, get ready to have your patriotic feathers ruffled … books are still challenged, censored and banned for various reasons in our country today.

Books like Judy Blume’s Forever, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings have been challenged by parents and school boards who find certain passages inappropriate for young readers. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling has been challenged for its scary, occult themes. Written works on evolution have also been challenged, as have books that represent race in a way that other groups find objectionable.

The most frequently challenged book for 2014 was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, who also happened to be a guest of the 2014-15 UD Speaker Series. His book has been challenged for references to alcohol, offensive language, poverty, bullying, violence, and sexual references.

The motivation behind challenges is most often the desire to protect young readers from inappropriate sexual content or offensive language. However, it is the position of the American Library Association that it is parents — and only parents — who have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children — and only their children — to written works. Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

So let your American pride shine by celebrating Banned Books Week with the University Libraries. You can get involved in several ways from September 27 – October 3:

Lastly, spread your patriotic wings — and the word — because knowledge is power.

- Nichole Rustad, Digital Projects and Graphic Design Manager

Source: National Coalition Against Censorship.

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