Monday, October 3, 2011

What's Not To Like About BBW - 2011

Banned Books Week

So, to wrap up Banned Books Week we are having a guest from one of my very favorite blogs. Please welcome:  Jen from I Read Banned Books ! 

First of all, thank you Amy for having me today! I appreciate you asking and I hope I don't bore your readers to tears.

Just a quick note about me in case you are wondering. I started my blog, I Read Banned Books, two years ago for library school. I graduated a year later and decided that I loved sharing my reviews and book recommendations so much that I would keep it up. Today, I'm happy I did and still keep the theme of intellectual freedom going by co-hosting the Banned Books Week Hop and posting a Banned Books Roundup at the end of the month.

For me, Banned Books Week is a time where we stop and celebrate our freedom to read. Sound cheesy? Maybe, but think about it. We can literally read/listen/say anything we want. Others may not agree, but the point still stands. People get hung up on the word "banned" but I see it as a generalization. If you want to get technical, the US hasn't actually banned a book or any written material in a very long time. When people come along and dismiss the entire idea of BBW because they disagree with the use of the word banned, I get to fuming. I am a very literal person and I like rules, but when a person tries to tarnish the spirit of BBW due to a technicality, I loose my mind. Challenged Books Week and Censored Books Week just doesn't have a ring to it. Stop pointing to your Funk & Wagnalls and move on.

Others don't like the idea of BBW because it should be something we should celebrate every day, not just one week a year. I agree with that. We have Black History Month where we remember and pay our respects to those with African roots and who fought for equality. Should we read and encourage others to read books with African-American characters and themes important to the race all year? Do books on Indian tribes get circulated in a library more during the Thanksgiving holiday than any other time of the year? Both answers are a resounding, yes! Regardless, it is a special time where we stop and bring light on a celebration. I feel the same towards BBW.

The heart of BBW is censorship. Does a school/library/classroom/store purposely not include material based on content? If yes, that is censorship. Let's assume that the material fits within the guidelines of the existing collection. Does a store that sells music not have a record in stock because it contains profanity? Does a teacher not put a book in her high school classroom library because there is drug use among teens? Does a public/school library purposely exclude a book where there are homosexual characters? That is the kind of censorship we are talking about. Not every book belongs in every library - I get that. However, if a book is purposely not purchased or removed because of something they personally do not agree with, that's censorship. And in my opinion, wrong.

The freedom to read means that I can make the choice to read and I support others to make that choice as well. Kids, teens, and adults included. I trust that my neighbors are making reading choices that are suited for their families, and they trust I am doing the same.

Thank you so much, Jen. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule. As for the rest of you, thanks for stopping by and have a terrific week.

Happy Reading & Arrivederci

I Read Banned Books
I Read Banned Books
@jenbigheart