Banned Books Week 2013 has been designated September 22nd-28th, a time when the national book community celebrates the freedom to read. Launched in 1982 after a sudden increase in book challenges in schools, bookstores, and libraries around the United States, Banned Books Week has become a chance to raise awareness and remind the public of the harms of censorship. The recent school library challenges of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye in Colorado and Alabama, and the even more recent (just this month!) successful banning of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man in Randolph County, NC, are just examples of the continuing significance of this week.
While it may sound odd to wish all of you a “Happy” Banned Books Week, the LCOPL considers this time of the year to be a very important time in the library. Book challenges and bans are still happening all the time and we feel that it is great to remind everyone of that fact. We also love a good excuse for a display, and this year we are going all out. Keep an eye on this blog because many authors have kindly given us their thoughts about censorship and we will be posting different quotes each day.
Let’s begin the week with some thoughts from Dan Savage. He is the author of such books as The Kid, The Commitment, and It Gets Better. We are so excited that he took the time to respond to our request.
“The thing that those who would ban books never quite grasp-one of the many things, I should say-is that their efforts only serve to draw attention to the books they want to prevent others from reading. People hear that someone is trying to ban a particular book and they start to wonder what’s in that book that’s so dangerous or so titillating or so hilarious that some regard the book as threatening or pornographic or blasphemous. And then they have to find out for themselves. Ban a book-or try to-and you ensure that it will be read. Because people who love books love banned books more than any other kind. A banned book is irresistible.”
Thank you Dan!