"A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to." Granville Hicks iii
Try an experiment. Walk up behind a librarian and say the word "banned book" or "censorship" really loud. Be prepared to see the professional book guardian's entire body shudder, jump, drop something he or she is holding on to and scream.
Although they may seem unobtrusive, American librarians, along with teachers and booksellers, are some of the greatest champions of freedom of expression and the first amendment.
Since 1982, the American Library Association, or ALA, has dedicated the last week in September to banned books. During Banned Book Week, or BBW, the ALA educates and celebrates with citizens about the freedoms that they should not take for granted. These freedoms include the right to read or express opinions , even if the seem a little weird or unpopular.v
In 1989, two school districts in California banned an illustrated version of "Little Red Riding Hood," known as Little Red-Cap from Grimm's Fairy Tales, because the girl in the book brings wine along with food to her grandmother. Concerns circulated about the appearance of alcohol in the story.
Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were banned from one public library in Concord, Mass., and restricted from the children's section in many other libraries. In 1998, one parent went to a federal appeals court in attempt to have the book removed from a school's list of required reading.
America certainly isn't the harshest land for censorship in the world.
E for Ecstasy , about the drug MDMA, was banned by the Australian government in 1994. In 2000, the book was still banned there. In the U.S., Congress is trying to pass an anti-drug information bill that would make distribution of certain types of drug information illegal, such as this book. viii
Challenged American Classics
Throughout history, censors have attempted to stifle many works that later went on to best seller lists, classics and even changed the way people saw their world.