The time has indeed come, actually has passed and been in effect for a day at least, for Banned Book Week here in the USA. I was turned on to the topic by a podcast I listen to that’s called Stuff You Should Know, sponsored by How Stuff Works. com, which is a child company of Discovery. The particular episode is called How Book Banning Works, and I cannot recommend it more highly for an overview on how the process functions (all the episodes I have listened to thus far are quite fantastic). Anyhow, I began researching on my own, and many an interesting topic has arisen that I feel inspired to expand upon in this venue. A brief overview of where I am heading in my posts (if all goes accordingly):
– Today: A brief overview on book banning (as I understand it). Hopefully I will just hit on some points that can clarify the situation in general, and the details can find their way into later posts.
– Tomorrow: Some thoughts on a trilogy that holds a dear place in my heart (hint: the picture above is kind of a give away), and it so happens that this particular trilogy made #3 for challenges issued in 2011. Also, I hope to share some thoughts on a book that, while not possessing my personal love, has made the list many times, and thus should be touched upon. I also hope to take a quick look at how book banning has affected my local area in the past.
– The Day After Tomorrow: Probably a lengthy, and I will warn you possibly preachy post, about books that have been attacked by religious groups, or have been challenged based on the grounds of anti-religious messages. The two books in this focus are A Wrinkle in Time and The Golden Compass. Both have very deep roots for me, and, again I warn you, that post is going to be fairly meaty if I have my way.
That all being said, let’s get into some quick points about book banning that I believe are important when trying to understand its quirks.
1. Book banning is basically initiated in public and school library settings. All someone has to do to challenge a book is go to their librarian and verbalize his/her desire to have the book removed and why. The librarian then decides whether to remove the book or not.
2. It is extremely rare for a library or librarian to give in to such a demand. According to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, censorship is something that should be fought against, and most of the articles within this short bill deal with not denying anyone access to information.
3. The foundational reasons for attacking certain books all usually return to the book’s appropriateness for children. Most groups attack literature that is present in grade school programs, or are available in the young adult/children’s section of the public library system.
4. There is an awesome history to book banning, and how certain court cases have led to the development of both attacks and defense against those attacks. If you are curious, I would highly recommend listening to the podcast I mentioned earlier because I fear I will not get to much of the history in my posts.
5. For more information about book banning, Banned Book Week, and the different aspects of this situation, try visiting this site http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek. The site has excellent information and resources. I also highly recommend doing the Virtual Read Out if you have the time and the capability. I hope to do the Read Out myself, so peer pressure alert, do this thing!
Hopefully that should get us all on the same page (oooo, shameless use of a bad pun), and I hope to actually dig into some books tomorrow.