The pressure to limit public access to books is an issue education boards and library trustees encounter regularly.
Some books are ordered off the shelves while others are quietly removed from school reading lists.
To keep up awareness and to focus public attention on the vital issue of intellectual freedom, local libraries are celebrating Freedom to Read Week, February 20-26.
“Freedom to read can never be taken for granted,” says Timothy Skye, Library Manager at the Campbell River and area branches of the Vancouver Island Regional Library. “Even in Canada, a free country by world standards, books and magazines are frequently banned at the border, and now on the Internet free speech is under attack.”
During Freedom to Read Week library visitors will see a display of recently challenged books such as And Tango Makes Three, a picture book by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; Negima!, a manga series from Japan by Ken Akamatsu; and the movie “Borat” by Sacha Baron Cohen.
In the past decade, more than 100 books and some magazines have been challenged through objections to language, philosophy and other issues in such novels as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, and a long list of others.
Three of J.K. Rowling’s popular Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban have been targets of censorship attempts.