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Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

This image was downloaded, with permission, from the Dayton Metro Library East Branch’s page on Flickr.

According to the American Library Association, Banned Books Week “celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.” Held annually during the last week of September since 1982, it is sponsored by the ALA, as well as the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, and the National Association of College Stores and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The Brown Library has many books which have been challenged and banned at some point in history, including:

  • Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Circulating collection, call number E185.97.A56 A3 1971
  • Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. Circulating collection, call number PS3537.T3234 O4
  • Voltaire. Candide, or, Optimism. Circulating collection, call number PQ2082.C3 E5 2005
  • Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. Circulating collection, call number PS3563.O8749 B55 1993
  • Lawrence, D.H. Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Circulating collection, call number PR6023.A93 L2
  • Walker, Alice. The Color Purple: A Novel. Circulating collection, call number PS3573.A425 C6 1982
  • Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Circulating collection, call number PS3537.A426 C32 1961
  • King, Stephen. Christine. Circulating collection, call number PS3561.I483 C4 1983
  • Eliot, George. Silas Marner; : The Weaver of Raveloe. Circulating collection, call number PR4670.A1 1967

For a short history of attempts at censoring books, please see The Online Books Page Presents Banned Books Online at the University of Pennsylvania. Included in this page are links to the actual texts of these works, available for free online.