Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Freedom to Read
More than a book a day faces expulsion from free and open public access in U.S. schools and libraries every year. There have been more than 10,000 attempts since the American Library Association (ALA) began electronically compiling and publishing information on book challenges in 1990. Thirty-five years after the first observance of Banned Books Week there are still attempts to remove books from public library shelves.
In one case, the Plymouth-Canton school district in Michigan considered banning both Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and Graham Swift’s “Waterland” after complaints from some parents of objectionable content. Both books were eventually allowed to stay on school shelves after a review committee heard from teachers, students and parents in support of the books during public meetings. But, unfortunately, even with the help of outspoken supporters, books are still being removed.
“Forever” by Judy Blume was one of more than 70 titles a Fayetteville, Ark., mother requested be removed in 2012. Twenty-five years earlier, the book was restricted in the Park Hill (Mo.) South Junior High School library because the book promotes “the stranglehold of humanism on life in America.”