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BANNED BOOKS WEEK ends today September 30th. It runs every last week of September every year since 1982. The reason for the event according to the American Library Association is to remind Americans not to take democratic freedom for granted.

“BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.” –ALA

It should be noted, that this is the week that Library associations try to make known the books that have been challenged by others for various reasons to be banned from public libraries. Usually, they are challenged for the best of intentions… difficult ideas and information. Censorship takes many forms, subtle or obvious…and a challenge to a book is an attempt to remove the books from the library not just from the person challenging, but from the public as a whole. So the positive message from the ALA is that “Free People Read Freely due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.”

In case you are wondering, the top 10 authors challenged from 1990 to 2004 were : Alvin Schwartz, Judy Blume, Robert Cormier, J.K. Rowling, Michael Willhoite, Katherine Paterson, Stephen King, Maya Angelou, R.L Stine, and John Steinbeck.

I don’t know about you guys, but as an avid book reader, I can vouch for more than just a few of these authors, including some guilty pleasures for plain and simple summertime reading (Where would I be without my Harry Potter books or Stephen King epics?). So as a typical red blooded, book reading American who likes his choices to run rampant in a book store or library depending on what mood he is in…. Thanks ALA.