Celebrate Banned Books Year Round!

by Leigh Milligan, Head Editor, INALJ Pennsylvania

Celebrate Banned Books Year Round!

So a few weeks ago I was shopping at my favorite tea shop in Historic Smithville NJ when I found this gem: bannedbooksarticle

Which then reminded me I never wrote part 2 of my 2 -part Banned Books Week Blog, so here it is! Plus while Banned Books Week is only celebrated during a week in September, The Freedom to Read should be an activism that should be celebrated year round.  There a few different ways you can continue to participate in Banned Books Week Year Round:

  1. Post a video about Banned Books.  You can create a Banned Books Virtual Read-Out Video all year. Click this link for information on the four video options and to submit your video. http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/criteria
  2. Keep up to date on Banned Books through the Banned Books Week Facebook.  All year, the Banned Books Week Facebook keeps up to date with the current topics having to do with Banned Books, by posting current articles about banned and challenged books. Great examples of these articles are the many challenges to these books being taught in schools.
  3. And finally. The simplest thing you can do to celebrate Banned Books Week Year Round, is to simply read a banned book!


During Banned Books Week back in September, my fiancé, Donald Bush and I created a banned books week challenge in Banned Books Week-Our Top 5.  We listed our top 5 favorite banned books and then pledged to each read a banned book during banned books week and share our reviews.  So here are what we read and our reviews!

leigh.milliganLeigh:   I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I was very interested to read this book because when I was a volunteer children’s librarian, I came across this book several times when I was shelving and noticed it was on summer reading lists. I was intrigued to read it and to find out why this book was taught in the classroom at some schools and banned by others.  I found it to be a very easy and quick read.  I could see why this was a banned book with some of the language content, but I wasn’t bothered by it, but it was different for me because I am an adult reading young adult fiction.  The book was about a Native American teenager who was a cartoonist, trying to get the best education for him while trying to fit in in a new school off the rez despite his culture and family issues.  It was a great read, very humorous and it helped me have a better understanding of Native American culture and the reservation. However this book will not replace my top 5 favorites from my last post as it was a little hard to get into at first, but still a great read.


While we are on the topic here’s a recent article that was posted about the book: http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201312010005


Don:   I chose Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury as my banned books week book. The irony of a book about the dangers of censorship being banned was too much for me to pass up. Fahrenheit 451 is pretty much considered a classic in both literary and sci-fi circles and a major hole in my reading list. The book is about a dystopian future where books are banned to the extent where firemen, who no longer need to prevent fires, are called to burn books whenever they are found. In this future, society has become so politically correct that any independent thought is considered offensive, so books, and the ideas inside, become the most dangerous objects to those in power. The book is banned for its use of words like “damn” and “hell”, which, to me, is like reality imitating art. Bradbury warns us of the dangers of a society gone too P.C., and the book is banned for its pretty tame “foul language”.


How do you celebrate Banned Books Week Year Round?


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ.com. INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.