Intellectual Freedom? Yes!
Censorship? No!

July 1 - September 30, 2006

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; January 23, 1980; inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

As I Lay Dying - Banned in Mayfield, Kentucky (1986), for "offensive and obscene passages referring to abortion"; it also "uses God's name in vain."

The Grapes of Wrath - Since 1939, it has been burned, barred, banned, challenged, and placed on restricted use for "vulgar language" and characterization.

Librorum Prohibitorum ("Index of Forbidden Books") - From 1559 to 1964, the Vatican published an index listing books that Roman Catholics were forbidden to read, entirely or in part.

Ninety book titles that have been challenged or banned hang from the south lobby wall in the Evans Library. This is but a very small percentage of the actual number of books that have been challenged or banned over the years. Patrons stop as they enter the library and stare at the list. They are surprised to learn they have read quite a few of these banned or challenged books either on their own or for school. One of the two display cases has been wrapped in a plain brown paper with tears throughout, conveying the notion that the enclosed books/resources are 'off-limits' or banned from viewing. As patrons peek through the holes, they see not only actual books but symbolic artifacts reflecting censorship: chains and a lock, duct-taped mouths of 'banned' authors, and a jailed, hand-cuffed individual with pen in hand. In between the two display cases patrons view a faux bonfire that contains remnants of charred books* and is reminiscent of many periods throughout history when books were burned and continue to be burned by individuals, organizations, and governments.

*(out-dated technical books permanently discarded from our library)

Coastal Connection – Banned Books Week 2006

Listen to Teri Wright's interview with Kathy Turner on iTunes U. You will need to log in with your TRACKS information.

Some of the Banned or Challenged Books on Display

The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn Mark Twain PS1305 .A1 1912
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck PS3537 .T3234 03 1938
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger PS3537 .A426 C3 1964
The Color Purple Alice Walker PS3573 .A425 C6 1982
A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L'Engle PS3523 .E55 W7 1962
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee PS3562 .E353 T6
Beloved: A Novel Toni Morrison PS3563 .08749 B4 1987
Slaughterhouse - five, or, The Children's Crusade Kurt Vonnegut PS3572 .05 S53 1988
Lord of the Flies William Golding PR6013 .035 L6 1962
Native Son Richard Wright PS3545 .R815 NS
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain PS1306 .A1 1920
Song of Solomon Toni Morrison PS3563 .08749 S6 1978
The Call of the Wild Jack London PS3523 .046 C3 1931
Frankenstein Mary Shelley PR5397 .F7 1968
The Gospel According to the New York Times William Proctor PN4899 .N42 N377 2000
Forbidden Knowledge: A Landmark Exploration of the Dark Side of Human Ingenuity and Imagination Roger Shattuck available through Interlibrary Loan
100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature Nicholas J. Karolides, Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova available through Interlibrary Loan
Anatomy of a Book Controversy Wayne Homstad PS3550 .A1 G6 1995
Censorship Robert Emmet Long, ed. Z658 .U5 C39 1990

"Every burned book enlightens the world."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 1931, China banned Alice's Adventures in Wonderland because the story portrays animals and humans on the same level. It was believed that animals should not use human language.

Click here for a list of "Books Banned at One Time or Another in the United States," provided by Adler & Robin Books.

Click here for ALA's list of "Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century."

Take a Quiz

To further explore the 'banned books' dimension, test your knowledge of these books by matching descriptions with titles.  

  1. "A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic..." 
  2. "It is a dark and stormy night..." 
  3. "Between 1930 and 1935, [author] came into full possession of the genius and creativity that made him America's greatest writer of the 20th century..." 
  4. "Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade..." 
  5. "[Author's] novel of a Vermont farm boyhood has become a celebrated classic..." 
  6. "Travis is the epitome of cool, especially when he's in trouble..." 
  7. "[Title] is like no other novel. It has its own rationale, its own extraordinary character..." 
  8. "Jerry Renault is pondering the question on the poster in his locker..." 
  9. "That rare literary phenomenon, a Southern novel with no mildew on its magnolia leaves..." 

Choose a title:

  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Taming the Star Runner by S.E. Hinton
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

George Eliot

1859: Criticized as the "vile outpourings of a lewd woman's mind" Eliot's novel, Adam Bede was banned/withdrawn from British circulating libraries.

Chris Crutcher

The Sledding Hill deals with life after death, censorship, and religion. This book, along with all the other books written by Chris Crutcher, have been banned at one time or another.

"...censorship is un-American. It's one thing for a parent to take a book out of the hands of his or her child, quite another to take it away from all kids. Censorship leads to ignorance, and for that reason alone, can't be tolerated. If you are a student who is offended by Telephone Man [another book by Crutcher] my hope is that you will stand up and refuse to read it; demand to read another book in its place. If you are a student who does like it, I hope you will stand up for it, because in doing that, you're not standing up for my story, you're standing up for yourself..."

- Chris Crutcher


The following movies deal with some form of censorship:

  • Storm Center - (a Bette Davis classic) tells the story of a small town librarian (Davis) who refuses to remove a book on communism (1965)
  • Fahrenheit 451 - a futuristic fascist society where the fireman's job is to burn books (1966)
  • 1984 - the George Orwell classic about Big Brother and the subordination of the individual to the state (1955)
  • The Seven Minutes - the story of a bookseller arrested for distributing an 'obscene' novel (1971)
  • Inherit the Wind - a fictionalized account of the famous Scopes 'monkey trial' starring Spencer Tracy as 'Henry Drummond', a thinly disguised Clarence Darrow (1960)

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."

- On Liberty, John Stuart Mill

…and the moral of this story?


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Answer Key:

  1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  3. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  4. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  5. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  6. Taming the Star Runner by S.E. Hinton
  7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  8. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee