The American Library Association has tracked challenges to more than 11,300 books in the 30 years since Banned Books Week was launched to respond to a surge in efforts to remove materials from libraries, classrooms and even bookstores.
In most cases, the challenge to a book comes from a parent.
And the No. 1 reason cited for a challenge? “Sexually explicit” material. “Offensive language,” “unsuited to an age group,” “violence” and “homosexuality” also prompt challenges, according to the ALA. In 2012, challengers took aim at a range of books, including “And Tango Makes Three,” a children’s book about two male penguins Roy and Silo raising a baby chick in New York’s Central Park Zoo.
On Sept. 22, the UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies and the UW-M Center for Immigration Policy Research partners with the Milwaukee Public Library to kick off Banned Books Week by hosting Barbara Jones of the American Library Association. Jones, the director of the group’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, will participate in “Canaries in the Coal Mine: How Libraries Fight for Fee Speech, Freedom from Surveillance and Democratic Values,” at 6 p.m. at the MPL, 733 N. Eighth St.
The ACLU of Wisconsin observes Banned Books Week with a meet-and-greet and First Amendment forum at Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E. Locust St., Milwaukee, at 6 p.m. on Sept. 25. An after-party takes place at Riverwest Public House, 815 E. Locust St., Milwaukee. Stop by with a paperback copy of “Howl” in the hip pocket.