Though the Constitution enshrines freedom of speech and press as values fundamental to the United States, the challenging of unpopular or contentious ideas in literature and media remains commonplace. In 2015-16, the American Library Association reported 598 separate challenges to books in libraries nationwide. Socially controversial topics like religion, LGBTQ+ identities, sex, and offensive language were among the reasons listed for challenging books.

The process of challenging and banning a book or any other form of information seeks to remove “offensive” content from the marketplace of ideas. It threatens to create a uniformity of values that does not allow society to move forward through proper discourse and discussion of politically loaded topics. Most importantly, banning books robs us of our ability to make informed decisions for ourselves.

With that in mind, we urge you to celebrate banned books with us at Grinnell College Libraries year-round.

This display was curated by Maxwell Fenton ‘19, who works in rapid cataloging in the Library. He is a philosophy and political science double major, and hopes to work in international law or academia someday. Deep thanks go to the Media Room staff for their assistance in creating this display.

 

 

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