Campbell County Public Library System is gearing up to celebrate Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. This year's observance is September 22-28 and commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic societythe freedom to read freelyand encourages us not to take this freedom for granted. Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. Stop by the libraries in Gillette and Wright and see the displays of books that have been banned or challenged over the years – you may be surprised. Patrons are also invited to view the video produced with the assistance of Gillette Public Access TV that feature library employees reading selections from challenged books.
CCPLS is also sponsoring a Banned Books Week Photo Scavenger Hunt to help celebrate the freedom to read. The event will run Sunday through Saturday of BBW (9/22-28) and individuals or teams are welcome to play. Sign up starting September 15 at your library in Gillette or Wright, or on our website (www.ccpls.org) or Facebook page. Once you sign up, you’ll be given the rules and a list of photos to submit (via email) for the contest. At the end of the week, the results will be tallied and a winner announced. Please join us for this family-oriented event!
Throughout the country, children are starting a new academic year. Teachers are sending out their lists of required readings, and parents are beginning to gather books. In some cases, classics like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Catcher in the Rye," and "To Kill a Mocking Bird," may not be included in curriculum or available in the school library due to challenges made by parents or administrators.
Since 1990, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges, including 513 in 2008. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About three out of four of all challenges are to material in schools or school libraries, and one in four are to material in public libraries. OIF estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded.
It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and reading materials like "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," "Slaughterhouse Five," the Harry Potter series, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series, remain available.
American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Read an old favorite or a new banned book this week.
The ten most challenged books of 2012 reflect a wide variety of themes.
1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison