Free to Read What You Want to Read

It is one thing to be told you must read a book, say for a class assignment, but it is something else entirely to be told you must NOT read a book. Yet according to, last year 464 challenges were reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom. Since 1981 the American Library Association has set aside the last week in September to call attention to the threat of censorship in schools, libraries and bookstores. This week, September 22-28 take a look at the most challenged books in the U.S., some of which you can find on the shelves of the John Tyler Libraries:

  •  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie       Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini        Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls         Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison                           Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

Graphic novels, or comic books, come under even more scrutiny from those who would restrict access to books. According to the Comic Book Defense Fund “comics are uniquely vulnerable to challenges because the medium thrives on the power of static images and because there is a lingering stigma that comics are low-value speech.” Among the most challenged that you can find at the John Tyler Libraries are:

  • Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel     Reason challenged: Obscene images
  • Maus, by Art Spiegelman             Reason challenged: Anti-ethnic and unsuited for age group
  • Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi   Reason challenged: Profanity, violent content

So this week celebrate your right to read! Check out a book!

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