“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791.
There is no freedom more dearly held in our country than the freedom of speech. This well-loved and oft-misunderstood right is intrinsically connected to libraries, and no one guards more fervently against censorship than librarians. The American Library Association has pointed out: “The Supreme Court and other courts have held conclusively that there is a First Amendment right to receive information; the right to receive information is a corollary to the right to speak.”
As such, public libraries work hard to provide an uncensored and reliable assortment of resources specially tailored to our communities. Communities are wonderfully diverse groups, full of differing opinions and beliefs, but no matter how carefully we curate collections, there will always be those that challenge the materials we make available to the public.
Banned Books Week began in the 1980s and is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our First Amendment rights and our triumphs over censorship. Despite attempts to remove or restrict materials, the majority of challenged or banned books have remained available throughout the years. View the top 100 banned and challenged books from the last decade.
As part of our celebration, we have put together a special display of banned books in our lobby. This display collects a group of titles as diverse as our community. What these titles share in common is that each and every one of them has been challenged or banned at one point in time.
Please come in and celebrate your freedom with us by checking out some of these rebellious reads!