Celebrate Banned Books Week: September 27 – October 4

September 29th, 2008 by Sarah Laleman Ward

Banned Books Week – What is it all about?

With the recent news coverage of Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin’s query into removing books from the library in Wasilla, Alaska, it seems like an appropriate time to celebrate our freedom to read what we choose.

Historically, books have been burned, banned, challenged, and quietly removed from library shelves for a wide variety of reasons ranging from the desire to protect children from content deemed “offensive” or “inappropriate,” to issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and the opposition to political or moral ideas expressed therein.

But who is to say what is good or bad, right or wrong? And what would happen if every opposing view point and potentially controversial work were removed from public consumption?

This year, in observance of Banned Books Week, from September 27-October 4 the Hunter College Libraries will dedicate this blog to a discussion of banned and challenged books and related issues. By celebrating something that may be construed as negative, we are reminded to reflect on what it means to have the freedom of choice and expression and not to take these freedoms for granted.

For an overview of the First Amendment issues related to book banning and libraries, take a look at this article by Claire Mullally, a contributing writer on the First Amendment Center’s website. In addition to a brief history of book banning, Ms. Mullally includes references to landmark Supreme Court cases, a discussion of book banning today, and links to related articles for further reading.

Additionally, the Hunter College Libraries’ holdings include many of the most frequently challenged books from years past, particularly in our Young Adult Fiction collection. To find books, search in our catalog, CUNY+.

For more information on Banned Books Week, check out the following books and websites, and keep reading!

Books available in the Hunter College Libraries

Click on the image for a summary of the title:

Banned in the Media : a reference guide to censorship in the press, motion pictures, broadcasting, and the Internet / Herbert N. Foerstel.

Location: Hunter Main Library, 4th Floor Reference P69.C43 U654 1998

Banned in the U.S.A. : a reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries / Herbert N. Foerstel.

Location: Hunter Main Library, 4th Floor Reference Z658.U5 F64 1994

Literature suppressed on political grounds / Nicholas J. Karolides ; introduction by Ken Wachsberger ; foreword by Robert M. O’Neil.

Location: Hunter Main Library, 4th Floor Reference Z658.U5 K37 1998

Literature suppressed on religious grounds / Margaret Bald ; introduction by Ken Wachsberger ; foreword by Siobhan Dowd.

Location: Hunter Main Library, 4th Floor Reference Z658.U5 B35 1998

Literature suppressed on sexual grounds / Dawn B. Sova ; introduction by Ken Wachsberger.

Location: Hunter Main Library, 4th Floor Reference Z658.U5 S692 1998

Literature suppressed on social grounds / Dawn B. Sova ; foreword by Joan Bertin.

Location: Hunter Main Library, 4th Floor Reference Z658 .U5 S69 1998

Alice Walker banned / with an introduction by Patricia Holt.

Location: Hunter Main Library PS3573.A425 A6 1996

Banned plays : censorship histories of 125 stage dramas / Dawn B. Sova.

Location: Hunter Main Library PN2042 .S68 2004

Web resources

ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom

Banned Books Week Website

First Amendment Center

The Bill of Rights

American Library Association Library Bill of Rights

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Posted in Events, Library Resources, News, Reference, Research

One Response to “Celebrate Banned Books Week: September 27 – October 4”

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