One of the pillars of the Library Bill of Rights set forth by the American Library Association is that “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” One way libraries get to do this is by observing and celebrating Banned Books Week, when we shine a light on books and works of literature that have been banned or challenged.
Last week, September 24 – 30, was Banned Books Week 2017. Gleeson Library partnered with the Department of English to do a readathon of The Bean Eaters by Gwendolyn Brooks on Thursday, Sept. 28. Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool,” from The Bean Eaters, was banned in schools in Mississippi and West Virginia in the 1970s. The school districts banned the poem for the supposed sexual connotations of the word “jazz,” according to the Poets.org listing of banned or challenged poetry. We also thought it was a good way to commemorate the centennial of Brooks’s birth.
Even though Banned Books Week 2017 is over, you can get in the spirit by watching our playlist of a selection of the poems we orated at the readathon last week.
Have you or your children read one of the top 10 banned or challenged books from the last couple years? How did you like being a #rebelreader? Leave a comment telling us about it!