RSS
Banned Books Week
Is the American Library Association's annual event a celebration of free speech, or "an act of censorship"?
Y

ou know it's autumn when "people start fighting about banned books," said Marjorie Kehe in The Christian Science Monitor. Banned Books Week, the annual event led by the American Library Association that aims to draw attention to censorship, is in full swing. And as usual, the debate boils down to this: "Some parents don't want the reading choices of their children to be censored by other parents—but those other parents say they do have the right to keep certain books away from their kids."

Banned Books Week is "a way for government employees to bully ordinary citizens by stigmatizing those who complain," said Mitchell Muncy in The Wall Street Journal. Most attempts to ban books are unsuccessful, and even "if a book isn't available at one library or bookstore, it's certainly available at another." The American Library Association and company "clearly hope future challenges simply won't be brought"—isn't that in itself "an act of censorship?"

"While it might seem like much ado about nothing much," said John Lundberg in The Huffington Post, "I think most appreciate the ALA's attempts to draw attention to that nothing much. I certainly do." If we truly are a country that values free speech, then this type of censorship simply cannot be tolerated.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week