As a librarian, I am very familiar with banned books through my studies, coursework, and the library setting. It does appear, surprisingly, that the general population is not aware of the fact that many, many books have been banned and the practice continues.
I posted a photo of the display I did for the Technical College of the Lowcountry on my Facebook page and was shocked at the number of individuals who were unaware of Banned Book Week and the concept of banned books. Comments included, “Where is the unlike button. Banning books really?!?” and “Sad!!” Some friends thought the books were still banned.
I spoke with students about the display and why the books were banned. They were dismayed to discover familiar books on the banned book list, including children’s books and the Bible, and some thought the banned books were still banned.
One employee assisted me in covering books for the display and was very uncomfortable with the task. I explained the concepts behind the Library Bill of Rights and intellectual freedom as outlined by the ALA (American Library Association) and that as librarians we are charged with making all books available to all people.
Remember that the books you read as an adult, and the books you share with your children, may have once been banned, but libraries everywhere work hard to be sure your first amendment freedoms are honored. To learn more about banned books visit the ALA site of the 100 top banned books by decade. Interested in checking one out? Visit our online catalog and see what you can find.
My next task: Make a sign assuring students the books on the Banned Book Display ARE available for checkout. :-)