Banned Books Week at ALA is supported by theirOffice for Intellectual Freedom. What is intellectual freedom? Well, according to the ALA it’s, “the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.”
What does that mean on the ground? Well, it means that what people check out of the library, look at in the library, and access on library computers if private. I won’t willingly tell anyone what books my students have checked out. Maine law says I have to tell parents, but I would really encourage parents to talk to their students rather than to me.
It also means that if a student asks for a book on a subject I find unappealing, I do not tell them so. I happily help them to find it, because they have a right to that information.
It means I try to buy books covering all perspectives of a controversial issue, because, again, my students have a right to information. They have the right to sift through that information to discover bias — and hopefully I am teaching them the skills to do so.
So, instead of just being a week against censorship, lets think about this as a week celebrating our freedom to think for ourselves.