Banned Books Week 2010 will be held September 25 through October 2. “Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same” is the slogan for this year’s campaign. The poster above is available for purchase through the ALA Store online, along with other Banned Books Week merchandise such as t-shirts, buttons, and bookmarks.
This year’s slogan is borrowed from the Facebook group, “Un-Ban Gilbert Grape! Censorship is Wrong!” According to Andy Lange, one of the group’s leaders, the slogan is a shortened version of Voltaire’s quote, “Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.” Lange, along with other students from Carroll High School in Carroll, Iowa, created the Facebook group to show support for the Peter Hedges book, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which was removed from the school’s curriculum in 2006 by the superintendent when a parent complained about sexual content. The group collected signatures calling for a formal review of the book in hopes of returning the book to the curriculum. Their efforts proved successful! The Carroll school board later voted to overturn the superintendent’s decision to ban the book from the high school’s literature-to-film class.
This incident is just one example of how students (along with librarians, teachers, booksellers, and other members of the community) fight to retain books in schools and library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged–and possibly banned or restricted–if it were not for people who are dedicated to protecting our First Amendment right to read.
Banned Books Week highlights the importance of our First Amendment rights, and draws attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
We hope you will join us in celebrating Banned Books Week in your local library and community. For more information about Banned Books Week, please visit www.ala.org/bbooks.