Today marks the beginning of Banned Books Week. You might wonder why libraries dedicate a week to books that have been challenged or banned. The answer is simple. Libraries fundamentally support freedom of speech which is critical to a healthy democracy.
Books that are challenged often deal with difficult topics, issues of race, sexuality, and religion. Some of the most famous challenged book titles might surprise you – Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter,” and, ironically, Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” I’ve worked in libraries for more than 10 years and I get a complaint about a book at least once a year. I have yet to remove one of those books from the library.
Libraries need to have books for everyone, from every walk of life. As a case in point, you’ll notice in this divisive election year, that we have books that support President Trump and books that support Joe Biden. And supporters of both candidates (or Kanye West and the Birthday Party) are welcome at the library. Because that’s how we roll. Welcome to Banned Books Week!