Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
The ALA promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them.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. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) promotes awareness of challenges to library materials and celebrates freedom of speech during Banned Books Week. This event is observed during the last week of September of each year. Banned Books Week 2011 will occur September 24 through October 1. See Banned Books Week for information and resources for getting your library or organization involved in this event! OIF compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted to us by librarians and teachers across the country. For more about books challenged over the last 20 years, as well as information about classic novels that have been challenged and/or banned, please see Frequently Challenged Books. OIF also offers support for librarians facing challenges to materials in their library. Please see Challenges to Library Materials for resources and information to help you prepare for and respond to challenges. If you would like more information about banned and challenged books not covered in the website, please feel free to contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4220, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yearly Lists of Challenged and/or Banned Books:
Books Challenged and/or Banned - 2010-2011 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned - 2009-2010 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned - 2008-2009 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned - 2007-2008 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned - 2006-2007 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned - 2005-2006 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned - 2004-2005 (PDF)