Books are banned for a wide range of reasons, click the image for an article that give examples of titles that have been banned and why. For more of the lists, click here
Category Archives: Intellectual freedom
I admit it: I have a bias towards browsing (for books, not for web content). When a patron bustles up to the desk, asks for and is given the one title they’ve come to get, and speeds out the door, I feel a little melancholy. Of course I’m glad they came to their library, wanted a book, and found what they needed. But…. whatever happened to coming to the library and leisurely grazing your way through shelves familiar and new? The surprising find in subjects you’d never thought to look for. The new favorite author discovered you’d never even heard of. The synchronicity of a book seeming to spring from the shelf and land in your hand, which turns out to be exactly what you needed at that moment in life.
To me, browsing is a veritable act of faith in a universe conspiring for your benefit. It speaks to a different age, in which we moved less quickly and were more receptive in general.
All these nostalgic thoughts were prompted by a lovely article in The New Yorker by Claire Barliant called The Art of Browsing. She says “Browsing is fundamentally an act of independence, of chasing your own idiosyncratic whims rather than clicking on Facebook links or the books recommended by some greedy algorithm.”
How about you? Are you a browser, past or present? Do you teach your children to look through bookshelves with an open mind and heart?
Well, if you’re reading this, you’re an invested participant of the Internet. Here’s a fascinating “state of the Internet” video from Mashable’s SXSW (South x Southwest, an annual film, movie, and interactive conference held in Austin, Texas) keynote.
From it’s humble beginnings in 1969, the Internet has developed so quickly that no one has a handle on it. Should we regulate it? Where is it going? Fasten your seatbelt and watch this short video for some astounding facts and forecasts.
Well, the ballots are in the mail. If you’re looking for some input as to how to vote, here’s a nifty resource: the Living Voters Guide.
The idea is to create a sort of online town hall. Each of the eight ballot measures for Washington state are listed, and people are invited to write down their reasons for their pro or con stance. Fact-checking is provided by Seattle Public Library, so if you’re doubtful as to a claim made by someone else, you can ask a librarian to check on it for you. *
It’s a free, nonpartisan service, and says it may include local measures soon. A unique way to listen to others’ reasoning and to proclaim your own stance. Try it, and tell us what you think of it in the comments!
* The site says, To ask a librarian to check the facts of a claim on the Living Voters Guide, click the “Ask a Librarian” button at the bottom of each post. Librarians will respond to each request within 48 hours. We will assign each claim a status of “accurate,” “questionable,” or “unverifiable” and will post a response with further information and the sources used to evaluate the claim.
Bill Moyers has taken up the cause. Here’s a three-minute video, “The Bane of Banned Books,” in which he talks about his own library experiences and the dangers of censorship. He says,”Censorship is the enemy of truth, even more than a lie. A lie can be exposed; censorship can prevent us from knowing the difference.”
“30 years of liberating literature” is this year’s Banned Books Week theme. It’s held next week, September 30 – October 6. See our post explaining more. Here’s the history of this celebration in a slide show.
Decide how you’d like to celebrate your freedom to read… write… speak… express…. and learn what you choose. The best way, of course, is to read a banned book! Here’s a list. Also, our October book display in the library will feature banned books, so you can find a steady supply there.
And if you’d like to express yourself further, grab a partner (we suggest a tech-saavy teenager) and make a video! Send it to the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out page.
What’s your favorite banned book?
Next week is the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week. What do you think: is it important in a democracy to have the freedom to read anything? Should some materials be banned? Who decides what is acceptable and what isn’t?
Historically, this has been a fine line to draw. Here’s a list of a few of the most frequently banned and challenged books in the United States. Even the Bible and the Koran have been challenged. Do any of these surprise you?
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Ulysses, by James Joyce
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
1984, by George Orwell
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Native Son, by Richard Wright
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles