Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

Banned Books Week from a Grad Student’s Perspective

Occasionally, the ALSC staff has the pleasure of working with interns early in their careers. Sometimes they are future librarians, and sometimes they aspire to enter a different but related field. That was the case of one of our recent intern, Sania Zaffar. She is a student at Loyola University in Chicago studying to become a Special Education elementary teacher. When Sania began working with ALSC, she was not familiar with Banned Books Week, so she spent some time with Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) to learn all about it.

who challenges banned books

One of the things that stood out during their conversation was that books targeted toward middle-age youth are more challenged or banned than those for younger children.

Check out Sania’s article, Never Judge a [Children’s] Book by Its Cover to find out more about why. This does not mean picture books are never called into question or subject of heated debate. OIF maintains a list called “Frequently Challenged Children’s Books.” On this list are a few titles that have received an ALSC award or honor. So what does that say to a caregiver, if anything? In her article, Sania discusses this along with resources to help librarians and teacher have important conversations about challenged books.

The work of defending intellectual freedom and addressing access issues continues on after Banned Books Week! You can also visit ALA’s challenge support page for more resources.

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