Banned Books Week, 2021

Banned Books Week was started by the American Library Association in 1982 as a means to fight censorship and raise awareness of the effort to censor, challenge or ban books in public spaces such as schools and libraries. 

This year, the ALA theme for Banned Books Week is "Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us."

Of course, books have always caused controversy.  Book challenges, book burnings, library destructions punctuate our past.

Galileo was threatened with death for a book he wrote. 

Controversial books in the past, like The Call of the Wild and The Grapes of Wrath are now considered classics.

And some classics are now considered controversial, like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby (To be fair, The Great Gatsby was controversial when it was published, gained classic status, and is still often challenged).

Topics contained in books make some people uneasy. But does that mean that they should not be read?

Over at Common Sense Media, author Regan McMahon argues that kids should read "banned" books. The argument is simple: it fosters critical thinking and discussion.

District 214 has not been without controversy regarding books. Back in 2006, a school board member wanted to remove several books from school reading lists. At a board meeting, hundreds of students from District 214 schools rose and spoke in the defense of those books.

The books were not removed.

This week in the Academic Resource Center, we have on display several books that have been challenged and/or banned at one time or another. There are quotes and newspaper articles that shine light on the issues.

And if you want, check one of these books out and celebrate your right to read.

You may get a button!


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