The Resurgence of Book Banning


 What is book banning? According to the ALA (American Library Association), "book banning, a form of censorship, occurs when private individuals, government officials, or organizations remove books from libraries, school reading lists, or bookstore shelves because they object to their content, ideas or themes." The photo above shows a few of the more recent books that have been banned from schools and libraries.


In a recent Washington Post article titled, "This Wave of Book Bans is Different from Earlier Ones," Valerie Strauss says, "Authors and educators say it is important for young people to have books that introduce them to sexual, gender and racial issues that many confront daily." This topic has recently become politicized and problematic and librarians are being put in the middle, and sometimes charges are brought against them for disseminating "obscene materials to minors." Many adults prefer not to have their children have access to books that are rooted in social justice and LGBTQ1A+ movements. School librarians have reported several books missing in their collections only to find that administrators have pulled them in fear of backlash from parents and politicians.


St. Andrew's Dean of Teaching and Learning, Gretchen Hurtt '90,P'22,'24, shared her thoughts regarding the School's position on the books we include in our curriculum, "At St. Andrew's, teachers have the freedom to choose books that best support our curricular and teaching goals. We look for texts that engage and challenge our students' critical thinking, build their understanding of the world, and sharpen their academic skills.  Seeking to incorporate diverse viewpoints and voices, teachers review and discuss our choices within departments and teaching teams each year. We encourage students to approach texts with open minds, to read carefully and critically, and to engage respectfully in dialogue and debate."


Isn't the purpose of a library to have something for everyone? Everyone has the freedom to read and the freedom to choose the materials they want to read. Libraries have the obligation to support those freedoms.