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Banned and Challenged Books: About Banned Books

Banned Books Week

"Banned & Determined" will not be

held this year due to a staffing shortage

ALA Banned Books Week

September 26-October 2, 2021

Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

WIU Banned Books Videos

2011 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

Banned Books Week on Facebook


Banned Books Game

Banned and Determined Game
developed by Tammy Sayles in 2012
(requires Adobe Flash)

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 Reason, Initiator, & Institution, parents challenge materials more often than any other group.

Reprinted with changes from:

Mapping Censorship



View Book Bans and Challenges in a larger map.


This map is drawn from cases documented by ALA and the Kids' Right to Read Project, a collaboration of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.

originally from: