Starting on Sunday, Sept. 26, libraries and information institutions across the country will be celebrating Banned Books Week.
Though the name of the celebration conjures images of book burnings and dystopian worlds like that of Big Brother in the classic George Orwell novel “1984,” Banned Books Week also looks to remind all those that libraries are for everyone and there’s something for everyone at the library. In fact, in libraries we sometimes refer to Ranganathan’s Rules. There are five, but for our purposes, we will look at just two of them.
• Every reader has their book.
• Every book has its reader.
So if you find a book that’s just not for you or what you believe in at a library, that’s okay. You are not that book’s reader, and it is not your book. It’s the right book for someone else.
Each year the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom announces the Top 10 Most Challenged Books. But what does it mean for a book to be challenged, and what does it mean for a book to be banned? According to ALA: “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.”
So when the Top 10 Most Challenged Books are announced it means that in libraries, schools, and universities throughout the last year, many groups or individuals found a book that is not their book and they were not that book’s reader and yet tried to have it removed from a collection. That’s something of an oversimplification, but still something libraries were founded to stand against.
We all deserve to find a book that feels like it was written just for us. I hope you find your book and are the best reader for that book. If you need help finding your book, might I suggest asking a DCDL librarian? With access to millions of titles in our collection and in the Central Library Consortium, I have no doubt that together we can find your book!
Here is a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019 as reported by the ALA, if you were curious:
1. “George” by Alex Gino
2. “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out” by Susan Kuklin
3. “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
4. “Sex is a Funny Word” by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
5. “Prince & Knight” by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
6. “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
7. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
8. “Drama” written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
10. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Hannah Simpson, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!