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Banned Books

As long as the written word has existed, there have been attempts to prevent its publication. From the Bible to Little Red Riding Hood, the merits of a wide range of literature have been hotly contested.

Banned Books Week, observed during the final week of September each year since 1981, brings to light issues of censorship and focuses on the debate over what should or should not be considered appropriate material.

Throughout history, parents, politicians and concerned citizens have fought to keep books such as The Anarchist Cookbook and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn off school and public library shelves. Citing reasons like immoral content, violence and racism, opposing groups range from religious congregations to ethnic communities. There are numerous campaigns for and against the prohibition of certain materials, and almost every one has found its way onto the Web in some form.

The Libraries

Start learning about Banned Books Week on the American Library Association's site. You'll find lists of the most frequently challenged books and authors of the 1990s and quotes about the free speech movement. The site also clarifies the difference between challenging a book and banning it.




Another portion of the ALA's site deals with the Freedom to Read Foundation. This area gives information on the anti-censorship group and provides links to materials such as the Library Bill of Rights.

Other banned book resources include:

  • Banned Books On-line contains links to lists of banned books and censorship resources online, in addition to many articles on book censorship.

  • The ACLU and Banned Books provide information on the practice of censorship and its implementation in American society.

  • Another extensive resource on the subject is Banned Books and Censorship. Sponsored by Books A to Z, a book publishing resource site, this page contains a large number of links to a wide range of resources.

The Challengers

Groups that promote sanctions on printed materials also voice their opinions on the Web. One such group is the American Family Association. A religious organization known for opposing works they deem contrary to Christian morality. Their site outlines a number of their positions.

The Kjos Ministries is also dedicated to infusing modern culture with stronger Christian moral values. This essay outlines their opposition to the Harry Potter series.




   --- A. Leonard

 
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