Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Happy Banned Books Week

Harry Potter tops list of most challenged books of 21st Century, says the American Library Association. One of our copies of HP is on the endcap display that Children's Librarian and I put together on Saturday. The first books to go from our display of banned and challenged works? Sendak's In the Night Kitchen and Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The later, like Fahrenheit 451, has been assigned in schools recently. Both have flown off the shelves.

To celebrate the week, we also have a little quiz -- chose the NOT-banned book on list -- to enter folks into a drawing for a book. The only person I got to enter so far is one of our local school librarians. It was busy, but we had a brief talk about banned books and how she talked about the subject with grade schoolers.

Last night, also at a hectic moment, a patron who I couldn't quite place came up (why was he barefoot?? It was only in the 60s, don't you think?) with an inter-library loan return. He jumped right in with a limp gesture at our brown-paper wrapped prize book, "What's this all about?" "I'd love to talk with you about that -- let me just finish with this gentleman."

"Okay. Banned Books Week is celebrated by booksellers and libraries every year, as a chance to talk about how while some people think some books shouldn't be published, we think all books should be published, and people should pick which ones they want to read." Yeah, it probably was a run-on sentence a lot like that, but I felt okay about the content.

"So it's new? It's some the county does?"

"Oh, no: it's been celebrated for a number of years by booksellers and the American Library Association; the county libraries are joining in [again] this year."


I checked in his ILL as he reminisced about his copy of a racially sticky children's book and how he'd "be rich" if he still had it. (Yeah, if it was a first edition, buddy. If you never took a crayon to it, or bent a page. Few old books will make you rich.)

Have a nice evening. Next please.

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