Banned Books Week: a Letter from the Library Director

From the Library Director

From October 1 through October 7, the Library will recognize Banned Books Week to celebrate our freedom to read. This initiative spotlights current and historical attempts to censor and restrict access to books in libraries and schools. Given the current state of book banning in the U.S., this year’s Banned Books Week feels more important than ever before.

According to the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom, there was a record number of demands to censor library books and resources in 2022--the highest number since the organization began compiling data about censorship more than 20 years ago. Last year, 2,571 individual titles were challenged, a significant increase from 1,858 the previous year. Of the overall number of books challenged, 90% were part of attempts to censor multiple titles. Prior to 2021, the vast majority of challenges to library resources only sought to remove or restrict access to a single book. These are stark increases with significant implications for residents’ library access.

Public libraries are repositories of information, opinions, and ideas representing a range of diverse viewpoints and beliefs serving as sanctuaries for intellectual freedom. When we ban books, we close off readers to people, places, ideas, and perspectives. When we stand up for stories, we unleash the power that lies inside every book to liberate the array of voices and promote access to all. 

I'm proud to work at Lake Bluff Library because of our organization's strong support of the right to read. In fact, the Board of Trustees approved the Library’s Values Statement in 2020, which states intellectual freedom, democracy, and diversity as expressed values of the Library and at the heart of what we do. It goes on to say the Library rejects views of exclusivity, including censorship, racism, and prejudice and states that the Library strives to be a safe and welcoming place for all patrons. 

At Lake Bluff Library, we sincerely hope that everyone can find something that is right for them. Our librarians are here to help you find just what you are looking for—whether it’s a book, a movie, or a helpful resource. We do this because our mission is to act as a vibrant community center that provides materials and services to enhance individual knowledge, offer personal enjoyment, expand technological resources, and facilitate civic interaction. We're proud to support and celebrate your right to read every day of the year.  

Renee Grassi, Library Director

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