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Banned Books!

Banned Books!

Run by the American Library Association, Banned Books Week takes on a special significance in the last 5 years due to the numerous book challenges and bans across the United States.

It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September or early in October, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

The Olin Library supports the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Statement, and has gathered resources to inform, educate, and inspire you to love books of all kinds and support intellectual freedom.

Banned Books vs. Challenges

What does it mean when books are being banned or challenged today?

  1. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.
  2. A banning is the complete removal of those materials.

While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

The Top 10 lists are only a snapshot of book challenges. Surveys indicate that 82-97% of book challenges – documented requests to remove materials from schools or libraries – remain unreported and receive no media.

What is the ALA Office For Intellectual Freedom?

The American Library Association (ALA) condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.

Every year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from media stories and voluntary reports sent to OIF from communities across the U.S.