Library Currently Closed Friday, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm View Library Hours

Banned Books Week 2023- October 1-7, 2023

Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

Banned Books Week is an annual, week-long celebration of the Freedom to Read co-sponsored by national groups like the American Library Association, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, and others; It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. This year, celebrate with us on October 1-7, 2023 as the Topsfield Town Library encourages you to be an outlaw…read a banned book!

During Banned Books Week, we seek to raise awareness of the encroachment of censorship and encourages concerned patrons to take action. Come see the staff dressed up in our wild west best as we encourage you: Be an Outlaw…Read Banned Books!

Increasing Challenges and Bans to Materials in Libraries in Schools

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. PEN America reports during the first half of the 2022-2023 school year, 1,477 instances of individual books being banned in schools; marking an increase of 28% from January-June 2022. And to be clear, this is a problem that hits close to home: the ALA noted that Massachusetts ranked in the upper half of states with attempts to restrict access via ban or challenge in 2022.

Wide bi-partisan support for the Freedom to Read

The news is not all bad. A 2022 poll commissioned by the American Library Association finds that 70% of all voters oppose efforts to remove books from libraries; this includes wide bi-partisan majorities.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Challenges and Bans

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022

List compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom

1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
2. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Challenged for: depiction of sexual abuse, EDI content, claimed to be sexually explicit
4. Flamer by Mike Curato
Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
5. (tie) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Challenged for: depiction of sexual abuse, LGBTQIA+ content, drug use, profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit
7. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Challenged for: profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit
9. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
Challenged for: depictions of abuse, claimed to be sexually explicit
10. (tie) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Challenged for: claimed to be sexually explicit
10. (tie) Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Challenged for: drug use, claimed to be sexually explicit
10. (tie) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Challenged for: profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit
10. (tie) This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson
Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, providing sexual education, claimed to be sexually explicit

The Librarians at the TTL made special pet peeve stickers- highlighting things we should consider banning before books! Pick up a sticker at the library during Banned Books Week...while supplies last. More information below.

What Can I Do?

Contact your elected officials!

During Banned Books Week, we will have postcards and stamps at the library. We encourage you to write your elected officials to let them know you believe in the freedom to read! Attached is the mailing address for some of our local representatives. As we mentioned above: book challenges and bans do happen in Massachusetts, too. However, as noted above, 7 out of every 10 voters oppose restricting access to books.

The stamps are generously provided to us by the Friends of the Topsfield Town Library.

That if all Printers were determin’d not to print any thing till they were sure it would offend no body, there would be very little printed.

Participate in our Read-In

We encourage you to participate in our library’s Read-In, as part of the Massachusetts statewide Read-In, on Tuesday, October 3rd from 10am-12pm. We will highlight some of the frequently banned books by the Circulation Desk, and we encourage you to pick anything you want and read! View the entire list of libraries state-wide hosting a Read-In here.

Spread Awareness

Free Stickers!

Banning books? Why would you do that when there are so many other more annoying things you could ban? We thought up a few things we think would be much better to ban. If you agree, grab a sticker and spread the word…while supplies last.

Banned Book Roundup

There are 24 WANTED posters around the library featuring books and what they were banned for. Can you find them all?

1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Charges: Profanity and claims it is sexually explicit
2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Charges: Sexually Explicit
3. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
Charges: depictions of abuse, claimed to be sexually explicit
4. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Charges: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Charges: profanity, violence, promotes an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
6. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
Charges: LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Charges: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
8. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Charges: insensitivity, nudity, racism, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Charges: Anti-religious, vulgar language, drug use
10. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Charges: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious view point, sexism, sexually explicit, violence
11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Charges: depiction of sexual abuse, LGBTQIA+ content, drug use, profanity and being sexually explicit
12. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Charges: drug use and being sexually explicit
13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Charges: Offensive language, stereotypes, and adult themes
14. Carrie by Stephen King
Charges: violence, cursing, underage sex, and negative view of religion
15. Maus by Art Spiegelman
Charges: Several instances of “inappropriate language” and an image of a partially nude woman
16. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Charges: Contains depictions of sexual assault, depression, and attempted suicide that are “inappropriate”
17. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Charges: Contains “obscene and/or pornographic material”
18. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Charges: Depicts sexual abuse, EDI content, and is considered sexually explicit
19. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Charges: Contains “sexually explicit” content
20. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Charges: Claim it is “soft-pornography” and “glorifies drinking, cursing, and pre-martial sex”
21. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Charges: Claim that the book is sexually explicit
22. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Charges: LGBTQIA+ Content and claims it is sexually explicit
23. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Charges: “indoctrination” and “promotion of the LGBTQ agenda” because it features the true story of two male penguins raising a chick
24. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Charges: occult/Satanism, anti-family themes, contains actual curses/spells

Bookmarks

Thanks to the Friends of the Topsfield Town Library, pick up one of these Banned Books bookmarks at the Topsfield Town Library and share with your friends!

Photo-Op!

Let everyone know you are an outlaw who reads Banned Books by getting your picture taken behind bars!

Feel free to take a selfie in the mirror or ask your friendly Library Sheriff or Deputy to take a photo of you!

Don’t forget to post and tag us on Facebook and Instagram!

More To Explore

 
Right Menu Icon