Sheila at Book Journey is hosting a week of great posts as well as some giveaways for Playing to Beat the Banned. Be sure to click over to Sheila’s site for links to more great posts and giveaways. We are celebrating Banned Books Week! As a reader first and a library employee second, I knew I had to join in the #BannedBooksWeek celebration this year. I have so much to say on the topic! Read on – and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post.
to think for ourselves and allow others to do the same.”
When I read this quote from former American Library Association President Roberta Stevens, it really spoke to me. We live in a world where we are desensitized to many things…but we are also censored from many things – and not of our own free will. I think that as a society, we look to those in charge. We sometimes want them to tell us what is good for us and we trust them to do the right thing.
Banned and challenged books are quite a conundrum to me. When I read the 100 most frequently challenged books by decade list, I was surprised to see many books on the list that I have read. Books that I have read to my children or my older daughter has read on her own. Books that I recommend to patrons at the library. How is it determined that books are offensive enough to be banned? It seems largely based on opinion to me, as something that offends one person likely does not offend the next person. And, even if something is considered offensive enough to be challenged and banned – why should I not still have the freedom to choose to read it?
If a person is in the pursuit of knowledge, either through an educational facility or a library, who are we to stand in the way of that knowledge? If we are offended by it in some capacity, we do not have to read it. We do not ban foods from supermarkets or restaurants, though the odor, appearance or consumption of certain foods may be offensive to some. Isn’t this the same thing?
As a library employee, I feel it is my duty to open the doors of the library wide and allow every patron that passes through the right to read whatever they desire. Do I have to like what they choose? No. Do I have to read it myself? No. Do I have the right to prevent them from reading any material made available to them? Definitely not.
If we allow our freedom to read to be compromised, we are agreeing to a breakdown of knowledge. Without reading, learning and expanding its knowledge through books, I think society would begin to disintegrate. It is out of our hands if someone chooses not to obtain reading materials, banned or otherwise. But if they do choose to read materials, even banned materials, then we should not stand in their way. We should staunchly defend The Right to Think For Ourselves – if we lose that, then we have lost everything.
What are your thoughts on Banned Books Week? Do you think books should be banned? Have you read any banned books? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
“A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.”
One lucky US winner will receive a Banned Books Week themed Prize Pack from Brooke Blogs! This will include some fun banned books related swag, as well as a paperback copy of a banned book. The actual contents of the prize pack will be a surprise. 😀 The contest is open to US residents ages 18+ who are legally allowed to enter giveaways. Winner will be randomly selected at the conclusion of the giveaway. Giveaway ends 10/03/15. Void where prohibited.
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