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September 22 through the 28th is Banned Book Week at the Marin County Library.  Stop by any of our branches to grab a banned or challenged book or two! 

In the kids’ room, look for the Harry Potter  series, James and the Giant Peach, any number of titles from our old friend Judy Blume, or even A Light in the Attic, a collection of poetry by Shel Silverstein (said to promote messiness and disobedience). 

Teens and adults might enjoy reading (or re-reading?) Orwell’s 1984, Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, or the ironically banned and censored Fahrenheit 451, about censorship and burning books.  More recently published books have not escaped challenges: The Kite Runner, Beloved, and The Glass Castle made the 2012 list of most-challenged books.  

Or maybe you prefer more classical tales: Hamlet, King Lear, and Romeo and Juliet have all been challenged for reasons like promoting the occult and glamorizing teen suicide.  And The Canterbury Tales – do you even need to ask?

Banned book week was started by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1982 as a reaction to a sudden uptick in the banning of books in libraries, schools, and book stores.  It serves both as a celebration of our freedom to read and a reminder of the implications of censorship for our right to freedom of speech.  Conversations we’ve been having in our branches, with all ages, are always thought-provoking. 

For more information about banned book week, visit the ALA’s page here:

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Posted by: Sarah

Sarah is a youth services librarian at the Corte Madera Library.

This is an official blog for the Marin County Free Library.

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Anne Smart

Just for fun I thought I would mention that my Grandmother Anne Smart started this craziness of banned books. I do not share her opinion and find the banned book week amusing. 1954 Sept. 10: Dissension appears to develop among those who advocate a "book purge" in Marin County high school libraries. Anne Smart, the Larkspur woman who stirred the controversy, has become controversial herself among some of her erstwhile supporters. One group of citizens concerned about books in the library has started meeting without Smart.

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