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Banned Books Week: Home

About Banned Books Week

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

What is Banned Books Week?

  • Banned Books Week is celebrated the last week of September and promotes the freedom to read by highlighting books that individuals and groups have attempted to ban.

What is the difference between a challenge and a ban?

  • Most attempts at censorship in the US come in the form of challenges, but outright book-banning is less common today than it has been in the past. A challenge is any attempt to remove a book from libraries, communities, or society. A book is considered banned when the book is removed. 

Why do people challenge books?

  • Challenges to books are often well intentioned. Challengers may attempt to censor works to protect their communities from ideas that they feel are difficult, offensive, or inappropriate. However, the freedom to write and read what you wish is a First Amendment right. Thomas Jefferson has been quoted as saying that “information is the currency of democracy.” If that quote sounds familiar, it is because it hangs in our library! 

What books are challenged?

  • You might be surprised to learn what books have been challenged over the years. Some of your favorite classics – such as The Call of the Wild and The Great Gatsby – show up frequently on lists. The American Library Association compiles an annual list of which books have been challenged most each year. Two of the most challenged books of 2015 were Fifty Shades of Grey and The Holy Bible.
  • Most Challenged Books of 2015 from the American Library Association