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September 25 – October 1, 2016

More than a book a day faces expulsion from free and open public access in U.S. schools and libraries every year. There have been more than 10,000 attempts since the American Library Association (ALA) began electronically compiling and publishing information on book challenges in 1990, the ALA says.

In one case, the Plymouth-Canton school district in Michigan considered banning both Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and Graham Swift’s “Waterland” after complaints from some parents of objectionable content. Both books were eventually allowed to stay on school shelves after a review committee heard from teachers, students and parents in support of the books during public meetings. But, unfortunately, even with the help of outspoken supporters, books are still being removed.

“Forever” by Judy Blume was one of more than 70 titles a Fayetteville, Ark., mother requested be removed in 2010. Twenty-five years earlier, the book was restricted in the Park Hill (Mo.) South Junior High School library because the book promotes “the stranglehold of humanism on life in America.”

“Throughout history, there always have been a few people who don’t want information to be freely available. And this is still true. We hope to remind Americans that the ability to read, speak, think and express ourselves freely is a right, not a privilege,” said ALA President Julie Todaro. “The reason more books aren’t banned is because community residents – with librarians, teachers and journalists – stand up and speak out for their freedom to read. Banned Books Week reminds us that we must remain vigilant.”

The ALA and the Ramapo Catskill Library System are endorsing the observance of the 34th annual Banned Books Week September 25 – October 1, an annual celebration of American liberty to access books without censorship.

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