Read a banned book

Every September the American Library Association focuses on books that have been challenged and banned in either a school or public library.

A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting that a book be removed from the shelf. It is not simply an expression of a point of view, but an attempt to remove materials from public use by anyone. This form of censorship denies individual freedom to choose and think for ourselves.

Since 1990, the American Library’s Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges. The OIF estimates that less than a quarter of the challenges are even reported and recorded.

Most challenges are unsuccessful, thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents and students. Challenged reading materials such as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Great Gatsby,” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” the Harry Potter series and the Captain Underpants series, remain available on the local public library.

Each September the library association focuses on banned books as a reminder that while not every book is intended for every reader, each person (or parent) has the right to decide.

Through Oct. 4, the Giese Memorial Library in Wyoming, a branch of East Central Regional Library, will display banned books from the 21st century.