Banned Books Week 2018: Where Is The Movement Going?

Started in 1982 by free speech activist Judith Krug and carried by the American Library Association(ALA), Banned Books Week has not lost its vigor in publicizing books currently facing challenges in American libraries and schools. From returning classics like Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” and recent works such a Jay Asher’s “Thirteen Reasons Why,” the ALA has cited a top ten list of works that are facing challenges for everything from racial slurs to LGBT content. It is almost enough to make us care about a dying issue.

   To much of modern America, the idea of censoring books has become an absurd notion confined to a repressive past. Simply ask any student and they will tell you about their exposure to “Huckleberry Finn” at some point in their academic careers. We have come to view the right to read as an issue set in stone; the classics of old will remain available despite their abrasive nature. So, with books unbound, do we really need to celebrate Banned Books Week at all? As long as we wish to read, the answer will remain yes.

     When we consider censorship, we often jump straight to the idea of access. To many of us, as long as the federal government hasn’t stopped it from being published and Amazon carries it, no work of literature is forever out of reach. By taking this macro stance, we have forgone what it means to be a reader without resources. For all the readers who don’t have the money to head to Amazon when their local libraries refuse to stock a “vulgar work,” Banned Books Week is for you. As long as you want to access information, you should be allowed an impartial ground to access it.

For more information on how you can support this issue, head to the American Library Association website.