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Banned Books Week Starts September 22

by on September 17th, 2013

More than 30 years have passed since the American Library Association organized the first Banned Books Week. The event launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, book stores, and libraries. Since then, more than 11,300 books have been challenged.

This year’s Banned Books Week celebration will be held September 22 through September 28.

According to the American Library Association, there were 464 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2012. This is an increase from 2011, which had 326 reported challenges. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.

The 10 most challenged titles of 2012 were:Banned Book Button, edited

  • Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  • Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  • And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  • Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  • Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

The Iowa City Public Library is offering Banned Books Week buttons for sale through September 30. They are available at the Help desk for $1 each. The Library’s annual Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival is held in conjunction with Banned Books Week. For more information about the festival and this year’s events, visit www.icpl.org/iff.

For more information on getting involved with “Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read,” visit www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek.

Banned Books Buttons Groups, edited2

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