Please welcome Charlie Owen, our Acquisitions and Administrative Assistant and guest blogger for this week!
As some of you may know, last week was the annual observance of Banned Books Week. The American Library Association, or ALA, and libraries all over the country celebrate this and use it as a means of making known that to this day people attempt to censor free speech by challenging the presence of books in all types of libraries. Typically the challenges arise from themes in books that go against the beliefs of individuals or groups of people. Wheelock produces many educators who may experience challenges, and regardless of your major you may find yourself witnessing a challenge in a library in your community. These challenges are often made by people with very strong convictions who really want to see the materials in question removed from the library.
That said I do not want to scare anyone into feeling like a challenge should be a confrontation. Rather than consider challenges negatively, you can more positively utilize the time to discuss with parents or members of the community the importance of diverse viewpoints. Try to remember that when people challenge books they are typically doing it with a sense of trying to protect their loved ones. By acknowledging that all opinions are valid and having a conversation rather than a fight you can build relationships with those who hold opposing views. A crucial service libraries provide is to make available books with viewpoints by marginalized groups in society to supplement those of the majority.
You can get more information about book challenges on the ALA’s website at http://www.ala.org/bbooks/. Take a look at the ALA’s Frequently Challenged Books website, http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks, to see some of the most challenged books throughout the years. You might also be interested in checking out some of these books Wheelock owns that are frequently on the list of challenged materials.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter
- It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
- Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
- The Working Poor by David Shipler
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck