September 18 – 24 is Banned Books Week.  Join us as we celebrate the freedom to read!

“For 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.

The theme for Banned Books Week 2022 is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers. Banned Books Week is both a reminder of the unifying power of stories and the divisiveness of censorship, and a call to action for readers across the country to push back against censorship attempts in their communities.” (American Library Association website)

Here is what is happening at Curtis:

  • Banned Books Readout Wednesday Sept 21 3pm to 5pm

Outside the Middle Street Entrance.  In support of Intellectual Freedom, community members will read aloud from a banned book for their choice.

  • Banned Books Giveaway

While supplies last, Curtis Memorial Library will give away copies of five banned book titles:

    • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970) Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
    • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937) Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students.
    • Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (1988)  Banned, challenged and accused of blasphemy for its reference to the Quranic Satanic Verses.
    • Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut (1969) Banned and challenged for explicit sexual scenes, violence, and obscene language.
    • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007) Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
  • Displays
    • 2nd floor display case: information on the top ten challenged/banned books in 2021
    • Adult Services and Teen displays of frequently banned books

Here are lists of frequently challenged and banned books:

Top 10 Most Challenged Books by Year

Top 100 Most Challenged Books: 2010- 2019

Curtis Memorial Library supports the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services:

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

(Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019.

Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.)

If you have questions about Banned Books Week, call us at 725-5242.