This year’s theme “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us,” promotes the message that censorship of any kind is harmful to civil discourse.
Each year, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of contentious books, which are submitted by teachers and librarians around the country. In 2021, books that involved violence, homosexuality, sexually explicit content, and derogatory language were restricted at various institutions.
Throughout Banned Books Week 2022, happening Sept. 18-24, events are being held throughout the region to explore the topic of censorship and the history of banned books.
The Spokane Public Library is hosting local author Chris Crutcher, who’s giving a lecture Monday, Sept. 19 at the Hillyard Library branch, from 4-5 pm, about his experience having his books banned.
Crutcher has received the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association (ALA) for his lifetime contributions in writing for teens. He currently has three books on the ALA’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books 2000-2009: Whale Talk, Athletic Shorts and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes.
Later this week, on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 3:30 pm-4:30 pm, Dr. Melissa Bedford, Assistant Professor of Literacy at Eastern Washington University, gives a brief history of the Banned Books movement. During her talk "How Stories Unite Our Community," Bedford leads an interactive reading activity with banned and challenged books from the past and present, and answers questions. The event happens at the Shadle Park Library; adults are welcome to attend, no prior registration is required!
If you can’t make it to these events, several bookstores within the Inland Northwest are also displaying and promoting banned and challenged books, including Auntie’s Bookstore, BookPeople of Moscow and The Well-Read Moose.
The most important part of Banned Books Week this year is to enjoy unfettered access to information, so be sure to add some of 2021’s most challenged/banned books to your reading list, which can be found here. ♦