Celebrate your freedom to read – It’s Banned Books Week!

To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves. ~ Claude-Adrien Helvétius

Read a dangerous book!

September 28-October 4, 2008 is Banned Books Week. Each year, the American Library Association declares the last week in September Banned Books Week which “celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.”

The event began in 1982, and each year the ALA releases its list of “The 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books” of the previous year. Often these books are requested to be dropped from school or public libraries. Books may be banned or challenged for many reasons – parental concerns that the books may be inappropriate for children, unpopular political views or controversial themes. Check out 2007’s list here.

Some other good resources on banned books:

The Online Books Page: Banned Books Online

Forbidden Library: Banned and Challenged Books

National Coalition Against Censorship

Check out the Banned Books display at the reference desk in the library to see some surprising books that have been banned and burned in the past, and what books are still being challenged today.

Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. ~ Heinrich Heine

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