Banned Books Week, September 21 - 27, 2014
PEN Center USA joins the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (ALA) in observing Banned Books Week for the week of September 21st through the 27th. For this week, the community of free speech advocates comes together to highlight the distressing number of books that are challenged or banned in American libraries.
Despite enjoying robust First Amendment protections, librarians are often pressured to remove “offensive” materials. When a group or individual challenges a library’s right to stock a particular title, the ALA catalogues and fights the effort. In their words, “[a] challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group… Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.”
There continue to be hundreds of these challenges throughout the nation. Elementary school libraries are especially frequent targets, a galling assault on the freedom of the nation’s young minds to explore and engage with difficult or unpleasant materials.
PEN Center USA enthusiastically supports the ALA’s work. It is shocking that challenges remain a regular and unfortunate fact of life for librarians in the United States.  We have an uncompromised commitment to the freedom to read freely, without fear of intimidation or censorship. Find out more about Banned Books Week here.
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There is not a petition for this call-to-action.