Banned Books Week
Our 5th Annual
WIU Banned Books Videos
Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson
Reader: Stephanie Gilbert, WIU student
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Reader: Liz Coplan, WIU student
Go Ask Alice: anonymous
Reader: Jaime Buttgen, WIU student
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Reader: Julie Hannen, WIU staff
ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Readers: WIU Libraries Instruction Unit
Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Reader: Jeanne Stierman, WIU faculty
Challenged and Banned Books
What's the difference between a challenge and a banning?
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.
Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors states that “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.
As Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., in Texas v. Johnson , said most eloquently: "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable."
Who Challenges Books?
Throughout history, different kinds of people and groups of all persuasions, for all sorts of reasons, have attempted—and continue to attempt—to suppress anything that conflicts with or anyone who disagrees with their own beliefs. In his book Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other, Nat Hentoff writes that “the lust to suppress can come from any direction.” He quotes Phil Kerby, a former editor of the Los Angeles Times, as saying, “Censorship is the strongest drive in human nature; sex is a weak second.”
According to the Challenges by Year, Reason, Initiator, & Institution 1990-2010, parents challenge materials more often than any other group.
Reprinted with changes from: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/aboutbannedbooks/index.cfm