Friday, September 27, 2013

Facts About Banned Books Week

*Artwork courtesy the ALA
It's Banned Books Week 2013, but did you know that the American Library Association (ALA) has hosted Banned Books Week since 1982? Back in 1982 there was a sudden influx of challenges to schools, bookstores, and libraries, to pull certain books off their shelves. Banned Books Week was started as a way to combat, and bring awareness to, censorship in America.

Here are some more interesting facts about Banned Books Week:

  • More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982
  • "Challenges" are when a person or group requests that books be pulled from the shelves of a library or from a school's curriculum--they become banned books when such a request is granted
  •  The ALA compiles a tireless list of banned books each year, monitoring challenges through the receipt of reports from schools and libraries, and keeping an eye on media publications that report on bans
  • Many classics have been challenged or banned, including the beloved novels The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), and Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
  • The hugely successful Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling) is the most challenged series of 2000-2009
  • The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James), a fan fiction based on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight trilogy, has been banned or challenged in numerous libraries. In one Florida library it was pulled from shelves but later returned--due to popular demand!

For more information about the history of banned books (including comprehensive lists of the most banned authors and banned books by decade), check out the ALA's Banned Books Website

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