Banned Books Week: A Celebration of Intellectual Freedom
By Tim Cable
Every year during the last week of September, Banned Books Week reminds us not to take for granted our precious freedom to read, write, and think whatever we want.
Across the country, books are still regularly challenged and targeted for censorship. The Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association (ALA) receives hundreds of reports each year of attempts to remove books from communities or restrict their accessibility.
Just last year, the president of the Ohio Board of Education labeled Toni Morrison’s classic The Bluest Eye “pornographic” and called for its removal from state teaching guidelines for high school students.
Often, those who challenge books use claims of indecency or inappropriateness as an excuse to try to censor ideas that may seem unsettling or dangerous. Thanks in large part to the advocacy and dedication of the ALA and other groups behind Banned Books Week, more and more people are able to see these misguided attempts for what they are.
Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has opposed censorship in all its forms. From books and radio to film, television, and the Internet, we have consistently fought to make sure Americans have the right to participate in a free exchange of ideas without fear of reprisal.
Celebrate Banned Books Week this year by reading a banned or challenged book and by visiting your local public library to participate in Banned Books Week programming.