Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 by librarian activist Judith Krug and members of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee to highlight the value of free and open access to information and to draw attention to the attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores. While books are no longer subjected to full government bans such as in the infamous censorship cases of Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the American Library Association (ALA) reports that 273 books were challenged in 2020 in libraries and schools across the country.
A challenge as defined by the ALA is “an attempt to remove or restrict materials based up the objections of a person or a group . . . challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum of library, thereby restricting the access of others.”
Each year ALA releases a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books List. In 2020 the list includes classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men that you were probably assigned to read in high school and would expect to be on this list. But there are increasing demands to remove current books that address racism and racial justice, or the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color. And as in previous years, LGBTQ+ content dominates the list.
For over ten years the UST libraries have joined other libraries, publishers, and book sellers to celebrate Banned Books Week. Not so much to ‘celebrate’ the banning or challenging of books; but to celebrate intellectual freedom and to highlight the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information and ideas in a free society.
For more information on this topic, please visit the UST Libraries Banned Books Week page. And if you don’t want more information, but want to play a fun, daily trivia contest then please visit the UST Libraries Banned Books Week Trivia page. There will be daily prizes awarded every day during Banned Books Week.