Literature and Liberty: Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2015 celebration is being held September 27-October 3, 2015.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. 

Hathaway Brown library staffers — Rebecca James, director of libraries, and Olivia Geaghan, upper school librarian — share their thoughts on what Banned Books Week means to them.

For me, Banned Books Week is a reminder of how grateful I am for the freedoms we have in this country, particularly the freedom to choose what we wish to publish and read. Although there are excellent books that get challenged and even banned every year, including quite a few on noteworthy lists such as the Library of Congress “Books That Shaped America,” most of these works continue to be available to be used as appropriate.” -Rebecca James, Director of Libraries

Banned Books Week is one that we celebrate every year in the library. This year – we will have a delayed celebration to coincide with the opening of the learning commons. Now, maybe more than ever, is a vital time to remember how fortunate we are to choose what we wish to read – to have access to books at all times. The Hathaway Brown community is full of readers and understands the value of books. When I discuss Banned Books Week with our students, I remind them that some of their favorite books are challenged at other schools. They are shocked. Then they hold their books a little closer.” -Olivia Geaghan, Upper School Librarian

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