Thursday, September 22, 2016

Books Are Still Being Banned: Wake Up For Banned Books Week 9.25-10.1

In 2016, with digital books and multiple distribution channels available, who would think books are still getting banned? But they do – and we need to be vigilant against the banning of any book – by stores, libraries, classrooms, or the government.

“Library professionals throughout the country are on the front lines of safeguarding the freedom to read and continue to fight attempts to remove materials from their shelves,” says the American Library Association.

Banned Books Week, Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, is an annual celebration of our First Amendment freedom to read. It is a time when libraries and bookstores offer special programs to inform the public of the dangers of censorship, while celebrating the freedom to read by reading aloud from challenged and banned books.

Events such as the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out will focus on library books that have been targets of censorship. The celebrity playlist includes Read-Out videos from frequently banned authors: Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, Chris Crutcher, Stephen Chbosky, Dav Pilkey, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Frances Hardinge, Bill Konigsberg, Alex Gino, as well as actors, Jeff Bridges and Whoopi Goldberg.  The public is encouraged to join efforts by submitting a Banned Books Week Read-Out video for posting to the American Library Association (ALA) YouTube channel at .

Along with the hundreds of libraries, bookstores and theaters that will celebrate Banned Books Week, six Freedom to Read Foundation Judith Krug Fund Banned Books Week grant winners will host engaging programs. The Los Angeles-based Water Buffalo Club will host “Busted! Banned Books” (BBB) in partnership with the Topanga Community Police Station. The event will educate young people about the history of banned books and censorship. BBB will start with a summer reading challenge, with youth invited to select books from the banned book reading list. In Saint Paul, Minnesota, local authors Pete Hautman, Phyllis Root and Marion Dane Bauer, who have had their books banned or challenged, will participate in the Banned Authors Book Signing event. The community is invited to talk with the authors, learn how the authors express their ideas in a sometimes hostile environment and have their books signed.

Also, to raise awareness of the overly restrictive blocking of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools in schools and school libraries, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of ALA, has designated one day during Banned Books Week as Banned Websites Awareness Day. On Sept. 28, AASL asks school librarians and other educators to continue the discussion on how overly restrictive filtering affects student learning.

The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) collects reports from libraries, schools and the media regarding attempts to ban books in communities across the country. It says the top 10 frequently challenged books of 2015 include:

1)    “Looking for Alaska” by John Green
2)    “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James
3)    “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
4)    “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out” by Susan Kuklin
5)    “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon
6)    “The Holy Bible”
7)    “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel
8)    “Habibi” by Craig Thompson
9)    “Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan” by Jeanette Winter
10)    “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan

For additional information regarding Banned Books Week please visit  

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

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