Most of us take it for granted that we can access the information we seek. But this isn’t always the case. Ever since the invention of the written text, there have been those who try to censor the type of content people read, and also who gets access to information.
Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read, and the value of free and open access to information. This awareness campaign began in the United States in 1982, in response to a sudden increase in books being banned or challenged.
The theme for 2018 is ‘Banning Books Silences Stories’, which demonstrates both why we read and the damage that banning books can do. We read to learn stories about different people, places and events, from different points of view. While we may not always agree with the stories we read, by silencing them we are actually silencing the voice of those telling the stories, as well as ignoring the lessons we can learn from them.
Thankfully, in Australia we all have the freedom to read. This is a privilege but also a responsibility – we should read things with an open mind, ask questions, seek answers and allow ourselves to grow.
ANU Library is marking this week by highlighting a number of books in our collection that have been banned, or are still banned, around the world.
These titles include:
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Lady Chatterley's lover by D.H. Lawrence
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
We also have a number of books on the subject of book banning and censorship, such as:
- The banned books of England and other countries: a study of the conception of literary obscenity
- Banned books: informal notes on some books banned for various reasons at various times and in various places
- Censor's Library: Uncovering the Lost History of Australia's Banned Books
So pick up a banned book, and join us in celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 23 – 29 2018!