Banned Books Week

banned books silences stories speak out

It’s time, again, to celebrate our right to read what we choose.  Banned Books Week will be held September 23-29, 2018.  Blackwell Public Library recognizes its responsibility to the community in providing the books and resources that our customers want.  We believe in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement set forth by the American Library Association.  Librarians uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.  We also respect our customers’ right to privacy with respect to the information they are seeking in the library.  As a library’s purpose is to be a source of resources and information for all members of the community.

So, why should you care about Banned Books Week?  There are a number of reasons.

Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain people – individuals, groups, or government officials – find objectionable or dangerous.  Censors pressure institutions, like libraries, to remove or suppress the information so it is not available to the public.  Then, no one can access it and decide for themselves.  The censor prejudges the material for everyone.

Censorship violates our First Amendment rights.  The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”  Intellectual Freedom is covered under the First Amendment.

Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.  It provides for free access to all expression of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

Why do people want to censor library materials?  The main reasons cited are “sexually explicit”, “LGBT”, “profanity”, “racism”, and “violence”.

infographic with the various reasons that books are challenged


Who challenges the materials?  42% of challenges come from library patrons with parents initiating 32% of challenges.

who initiates challenges to materials - 42% patrons, 32% parents, 14% board/administration, 6% librarians/teachers, 3% political and religious groups, 2% elected officials, 1% students


Where do the majority of challenges occur?  Over half of challenges take place in public libraries.

censorship where do challenges take place - 56% public libraries, 25% school, 16% school libraries, 2% academic libraries, 1% special libraries/other


Are books the only material that is challenged?  67% of items that are challenged but databases, programs, and displays have also been challenged.

books aren't the only items threatened with censorship - 67% books, 18% databases, magazines, films, games, 7% programs, 4% displays, 4% other