Imagine not being able to find a copy of your favorite book or film because it has been deemed “offensive,” “dirty” or “morally reprehensible” and removed from the shelves. If you did some research, you might find that many of your favorite books have been challenged or formally banned at some point in history in some part of the country. Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, BBW highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harm of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted book bannings across the United States.
To celebrate intellectual freedom and the unique voices represented in controversial literature, the Annandale Library is displaying a collection of commonly challenged and banned books. While some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
To learn more about BBW, listen to library podcasts from English as a Second Language students and Professor Shirley Nuhn available on the Annandale Library website, and be sure to stop by to check out the library’s display in CG- 300.