Banned Books Week, rebellious reading in an era of unrest

by Patty Templeton

“Two Boys Kissing,” by David Levithan was one of the 10 most banned books of 2016, for, you guessed it, the fact that two men were smoochin’ on the cover and inside the book.

“I am Jazz,” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings is a picture book. It was also one of the most banned books of 2016 for portraying the life of a transgender child.

Every year the rebels and readers at the American Library Association (ALA) sponsor Banned Books Week. It usually takes place the last weekend of September and it is a reminder that yes, dear reader, books are still banned in this, the great age of 2017. These are just two examples of the MANY books that have been challenged (i.e. requested be taken out of libraries) or outright banned (removed from libraries) in the past year.

A growing theme of what is challenged or banned from libraries? James LaRue, director of the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, noted that half of the most challenged books of 2016 were about diverse populations and, most pointedly, LGBTQ people.

Librarians are warriors that fight for the free and open access to information in all mediums, in fiction or nonfiction forms.

Banned Books Week will take place Sunday, Sept. 24, through Saturday, Sept. 30. Check out the Durango Public Library’s displays of banned and challenged books and stop by a bookstore to buy a few rebellious reads. You can find the ALA’s full list of “Frequently Challenged Books” at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks.

Patty Templeton

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