Banned Books Week 2016: Spotlight on Diversity

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read

Defend the First Amendment Read A Banned Book

This year, the focus of Banned Books Week is on diversity.


“It is estimated that over half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. This year’s Banned Books Week will celebrate literature written by diverse writers that has been banned or challenged, as well as explore why diverse books are being disproportionately singled out in the first place.”

What does “diverse” mean in this context? Author Malinda Lo defines it as:

“non-white main and/or secondary characters; LGBT main and/or secondary characters; disabled main and/or secondary characters; issues about race or racism; LGBT issues; issues about religion, which encompass in this situation the Holocaust and terrorism; issues about disability and/or mental illness; non-Western settings, in which the West is North America and Europe.”

Indeed, the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2015 reflect many kinds of diversity. Click on any of the links below to read more about each book in the library catalog, and request any you’re interested in.

I READ BANNED BOOKS white text inside red circle

Have you read one of these, or another frequently challenged title? Come tell us about it at the reference desk and get an “I READ BANNED BOOKS” button (while supplies last).

Banned Books Week posts from previous years

Next: “Banned Books” is a bit of a misnomer, since books aren’t banned in this country as often as they are “challenged” (for example, moved from the children’s or teen area of the library to the adult section, or removed from a school’s required reading list). Internationally, however, censorship remains an issue. We’ll collect a few related stories from around the world – a reminder of the importance of the freedom to read.

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