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Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual event acknowledging the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship. Books that have been banned or attempted to be banned, across the United States and the world, are highlighted. Banned Books Week is not only an opportunity to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, but also to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

September 21 - 27, 2014

Comics, Censorship and Freedom of Expression

A panel discussion with Brian Fies, Kathy Bottarini, and Heidi LaMoreaux.

Tell Your Story in Words and Pictures: A Comics Workshop

A workshop lead by our own Caitlin Plovnick, covering character design, composition, and storytelling. Participants have the chance to create their own handmade comic books.

On Display in the Library:

  • Censored Visual Artists
  • Banned and Censored Films
  • Banned or Challenged Juvenile and Young Adult Books
  • Banned and Censored Graphic Novels
  • Banned and Censored Musical Artists

Top 10 Challenged Books in 2014 (American Library Association)

September 22 - 28, 2013

Top 10 Challenged Books in 2013 (The Guardian)

September 30 - October 6, 2012

10 most challenged books list for 2012 (The Christian Science Monitor)

What does it mean to ban or challenge a book

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.


  • Hundreds of books have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year.
  • According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 326 in 2011.
  • American Library Association estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported.

Reasons for banning/challenging books

Top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. The material was considered to be "sexually explicit“
  2. The material contained "offensive language“
  3. The material was "unsuited to any age group"

For more information on banned books