Books have the power to change lives on the individual and societal level. They’re portals to magical lands and guides for navigating life’s most gruesome struggles. Because of this, the freedom to access information through books has been highly contested since the birth of the written word. The American Library’s Association (ALA) has reported that it tracked roughly 500 requests to challenge or ban books from schools and libraries each year. Thus, Banned Books Week was created. The first Banned Books week began in 1982 as a celebration that called attention to the dangers of stifling creative expression and access to books. Banned Books Week focuses on readers’ freedom and open access to information, and also acts as a Thank You to the librarians, teachers, students, and community members who have fought for these freedoms.
Every year, hundreds of books are challenged or banned from public and school libraries. Many of these are young adult titles we have in the Teen Zone, including everything ranging from classics to contemporary favorites. For Banned Book at Lawrence Public Library, we’re celebrating the right to read, so check out one of these books that have topped the list of challenged books over the last ten years!