This past September 30 to October 6, 2012 marked the 30th annual Banned Books Week sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). With the Information Age in full swing, and so much knowledge at the fingertips of anyone and everyone, it can be easy to forget that the right to read and learn still needs protecting.
Between 1990 and 2010, the American Library Association recorded 10,676 'challenges' to materials owned by a variety of library's across the United States. Each of these challenges represents an effort made by a group or individual to remove an item from a library. And with these numbers reflecting only the 'challenges' reported to the ALA, the true number is much higher. Many controversial titles on the list of most banned materials, such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, come as no surprise. Other often 'challenged' titles, such as Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, considered by most to be classics, are harder to understand.
The America of today continues to rely, as it always has, on it's libraries as repositories of information and history. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy stated "Good libraries are as essential to an education and informed people as the school system itself. The library is not only the custodian of our cultural heritage but the key to progress and the advancement of knowledge." It is important never to forget the continued significance of the access provided by library's in America, and how essential it is to continue to defend that access.
Lake Bluff Public Library was thrilled to participate in the 30th Annual Banned Books Week, and looks forward to continuing to highlight the fight to disseminate information to those who seek it for the next 30 years and beyond.