Monday, September 23, 2013

Banned Book Week 2013, Celebrating The Freedom To Read

Banned Books Week 2013 is celebrating more than thirty years of the freedom to read. This freedom, not only to choose what we read, but also to select from a full array of possibilities, is firmly rooted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Although we enjoy an increasing quantity and availability of information and reading material, we must remain vigilant to ensure that access to this material is preserved; would-be censors who continue to threaten the freedom to read come from all quarters and all political persuasions. Even if well intentioned, censors try to limit the freedom of others to choose what they read, see, or hear.

Sex, profanity, and racism remain the primary categories of objections,and most occur in schools and school libraries. Frequently, challenges are motivated by the desire to protect children. While the intent is commendable, this method of protection contains hazards far greater than exposure to the "evil" against which it is leveled. U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, in Texas v. Johnson, said, "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable." Individuals may restrict what they themselves or their children read, but they must not call on governmental or public agencies to prevent others from reading or viewing that material. (via

Click here to download Books Challenged or Banned 2012-2013 by Robert P. Doyle (PDF)

This bibliography represents books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in 2012-2013 as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom from May 2012 through May 2013.

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