Q&A: Banned Books and the Coralville Public Library


What are banned and challenged books?

Banned books are books that have been removed from schools or libraries because someone objected to their content.

Challenged books are books that people have tried to have removed from libraries or schools.


Why do people want to ban books?

People sometimes object to the content of a book, or some of the content, and they think other people shouldn’t be able to read it.

They might object to violence, language, sexual content, religious content, racism, or almost anything else you can think of.

For instance. . .

There are people who want to ban some dictionaries because they define swear words.

Some people think that Junie B. Jones books shouldn’t be in schools or libraries because Junie doesn’t use correct grammar.

Some people object to fantasy books because they believe they encourage witchcraft.

Some people object to sex education books because they think they are too graphic, or that children shouldn’t be taught about sex.


Why is the library doing this display? Does the Coralville Public Llibrary ban books?

No, we don’t ban books! We recognize Banned Books Week every year because we want to draw attention to the fact that there are people who want to ban books, and we want to celebrate our right to read freely. We think the library should be a place to explore all kinds of ideas.

We do think that parents should be the ultimate judges of what their children read. We encourage you to talk to your kids about books and about what is appropriate for them. We just don’t think that anyone has the right to make that decision for anyone else’s family.

Are there books that have been banned or challenged in Iowa?

Yes! There’s a poster by the ladder display that shows some of the books that have been challenged in Iowa libraries.
What’s with the bookmarks in these books?

We’ve put bookmarks in many of the books in our collection that have been banned or challenged somewhere. We’d like to get your feedback. What do you think about the book? Please feel free to leave us some comments and leave the bookmark in the book when you return it. We’ll be featuring some of your comments (anonymously) on our Facebook page and our Banned Books Week blog (you can find links to both on our website).


A few other factoids

The American Library Association has been sponsoring Banned Books Week since 1982.

It’s estimated that less than 20% of book challenges are reported.

Local author Dori Butler has a book that was challenged in Texas just last year! It’s called My Mom’s Having a Baby, and we have it here at the library.


The ALA About page is another good place to read a bit more, if you’re interested: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/aboutbannedbooks/index.cfm


One thought on “Q&A: Banned Books and the Coralville Public Library

  1. Pingback: Banned Books Week 2013 | Travel Between The Pages

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