Banned Books Week 2017
Banned Books Week is held each year in the last week of September. Libraries and their supporters use Banned Book Week to raise awareness about books challenges and censorship and to celebrate the right to read.
The American Library Association (ALA) publishes an annual list of the ten books most frequently challenged at libraries across the country. You can review 2016’s list or watch the video below to learn about the most frequently challenged books from last year:
Whose Books Are Banned?
Does anything jump out to you about the books featured in the video above? Six of the ten are written by people who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community (including Mariko Tamaki, Alex Gino, Jazz Jennings, David Levithan, and Chuck Palahniuk), and/or include characters or themes representing the experiences of LGBTQ+ people (including Drama, George, I Am Jazz, and Two Boys Kissing).
Books depicting the diverse array of American and global experiences are frequent fixtures on annual Challenged Books List. A 2014 analysis by Melinda Lo found that about half of the books that appeared on an ALA Challenged Books List from 2000 to 2013 “addressed issues about race, and/or disability; or were about non-white, LGBTQ and/or disabled characters.” Meanwhile, books written by people of color were as much as twice as likely to appear on a Challenged Books List as the rate at which publishers release books written by people of color.
Learn More about Banned Books
You can learn more about Banned Books Week by visiting the book display on the first floor of Miller Information Commons. You can also check out one of these websites:
- Banned Books @ the American Library Association – Learn more about Banned and Challenged Books, including Top Ten Most Challenged lists from years past and more information about the reasons books are challenged.
- “Book Challenges Suppress Diversity” by Melinda Lo – The full analysis cited above on what types of books are challenged and banned.
- Virtual Read Outs – The Official YouTube Channel of Banned Books week includes hundreds of videos of individuals celebrating their right to read by reading selections from banned and challenged books. You can even submit your own Read Out video.