DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Sep 28 2011

Banned Books Week

by Joseph M

We’re currently in the middle of Banned Books Week, where we take a moment to think critically about topics like access to information and censorship.  Something that always strikes me when I’m looking at the lists of the frequently challenged and banned titles is the number of books I read and really enjoyed in high school, such as To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies.  It’s hard for me to imagine not having the opportunity to read and discuss these classics just because someone else out there thinks they are inappropriate.  What are some of your favorite banned books?

In keeping with the theme, I’d also like to take a moment to mention a little something called The Library Bill of Rights.  Adopted by the American Library Association council in 1939 and amended over the next six decades, it is especially relevant to this topic, so I’ve included it below:

The American Library Association 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 that 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.

As someone who is passionate about providing access to information for our communities, I feel heartened knowing about these guidelines.

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