The Cedar Rapids Public Library joins libraries across the country in bringing attention to the harms of censorship during Banned Books Week September 24-30.
While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
Activities at the Cedar Rapids Public Library during Banned Books Week include:
- Story Time: Let’s Read a Banned Book! Wednesday, September 27 at 10:30 am at the Downtown Library and Thursday, September 28 at 10 am at the Ladd Library.
- Bookish Arts and Crafts: Banned Book Bling! Create earrings, a key chain, or a pendant during this special craft program for adults at the Downtown Library on Wednesday, September 27, at 5:30 pm. Registration is required—please visit http://bit.ly/BannedBookBling or call 319.261.READ for assistance.
- Free People Read Freely: A Banned Book Event. Citizens from around the community will read aloud from banned books from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, September 30, in the Downtown Library.
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
According to the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, the top ten most challenged books in 2016 were:
- This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
- Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
- George written by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
- I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
- Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
- Looking for Alaska written by John Green
Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
- Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
- Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unreadwritten by Chuck Palahniuk
Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
- Little Bill(series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
- Eleanor & Parkwritten by Rainbow Rowell
Reason: challenged for offensive language
For more information on the Cedar Rapids Public Library, visit www.crlibrary.org or call 319.261.READ.