As a means of dealing with an influx of books being challenged in 1982, Banned Books Week was launched. It is a means of gathering readers, libraries, and schools together to support the freedom of expression.
Books have long been a means of stimulating discussion about complex, and even taboo, topics and by cutting off young people from access to these topics, society does not protect children. It does more damage because they are not provided access to these materials. Though parents have the right and responsibility to guide their own children’s reading, this doesn’t mean that they can dictate what is acceptable for other people’s children.
Furthermore, if children find that they are represented in books when they are in minorities, they are less likely to feel isolated. By banning books, it removes opportunities for everyone to read these books, not just children. We should trust children to come to their own conclusions and be able to make their own judgment about material they read. By having books accessible in the library, this doesn’t make it mandatory reading.
What Can You Do?
Identity leaders and local officials, especially those who serve on school boards, and contact them to express your feelings about book banning and challenged books. Contact your legislators, senators, and state representatives to tell them how you feel. Create a petition locally and get members of your community to sign it.
- From January 1 – August 31, 2022: 1,651 unique titles were targeted.
- During that same time frame, 681 attempts were made to restrict or ban library resources.
- More than 70% of those attempts targeted multiple titles, whereas in the past, they targeted individual books.
- In 2021, 729 challenges were tracked to library and school services and resources.