Year after year people challenge books found in libraries and classrooms and demand they not be read.
This week marks the 30th anniversary of the annual “Banned Books Week” and libraries all over the country are encouraging people to read books found on the “banned” list.
“You can go anywhere, you can be whoever you want, you can do whatever you want without actually having to do it,” said Jennifer Hentzen, a librarian. “There are so many books in this library that I love and I want to share with everyone and nobody should have the right to tell me what I can and cannot share or what you can and cannot read.”
While the Idaho Falls Public Library doesn’t ban any books from its shelves, librarians said it’s still important to recognize that some communities across the country have.
“People do bring challenges to us, but generally speaking we’ve never taken a book off the shelf,” said Hentzen. “We may have moved it to another location, but we’ve never taken a book off a shelf.”
The American Library Association started Banned Books Week in 1982 after seeing a rise in challenges to certain books.
Since then more than 11,000 books have been challenged and even banned in some communities.
“It’s perfectly acceptable to say, ‘I don’t want to finish this book because it’s not for me,’ but to say ‘I’m never even going to try because I’m afraid,’ then I think you’re shutting yourself off from amazing experiences,” said Kimberly Bryant, a librarian.
According to the ALA, there were more than 300 challenges to books recorded last year alone.
Banned Books Week lasts through October 6.
For a list of books that are frequently challenged, visit www.bannedbooksweek.org.