Banned Books Week is an annual, week-long event that draws attention to book challenges and book-banning attempts in public and school libraries. Today, your freedom to read is being attacked at unprecedented levels. Libraries across the country are facing coordinated attempts to remove books from shelves and control what you can and can’t read.
The City Library recognizes the freedom to read as one of America’s foundational values, alongside the rights to think and speak freely. In 2022, libraries across America dealt with a record number of attempts to remove books from library shelves. In some cases this has escalated to Library systems losing funding, losing experienced staff members, and losing control to political bodies.
Libraries exist to provide free and open access to books, information, the internet, and other resources. Libraries contribute to thriving communities by removing economic boundaries to books. Next time you check out books from The City Library, take a look at the receipt to see how much money you’ve saved by using the Library.
The City Library has specialized staff members who select which books are included in the collection and made available to the public. The selection process is based on a codified set of standards and criteria. Overall, The City Library’s collection includes books that cover the entire spectrum of political thought, religion, lifestyle, and other ideas. The City Library believes an effective library collection should have books that cover many sides of any argument, books that mirror your experiences (whoever you may be), and books that open windows into others’ lives and experiences different from your own.
A single library book can be read dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of times. When books are removed from libraries, it creates a disparity where some members of the community are deciding what other members of the community are allowed to read. And that idea is fundamentally un-American.
Learn more about book challenges at bannedbooksweek.org, and find actions you can take to help Let Freedom Read.
These frequently challenged books are widely considered classics and part of the canon of literature. (learn more)
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Sallinger
- The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison
- The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
- Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
- Native Son, by Richard Wright
- Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut