Have you noticed one of the book shelves in the AISB library is wrapped in caution tape? Well, that’s because it’s banned books week: an event organized by the American Library Association that’s taken place every September since 1982.

“This week is a reminder to celebrate the freedom to read,” says AISB Librarian Cristina Cuzuc. She points out that this year’s theme is “Books Unite Us; Censorship Divides Us,” hence the crime scene book display.

Every year, books are challenged and removed from shelves—most often for including excessive profanity, or topics revolving race, sex, politics, and LGBTQ+ narratives.

For more information on the process of banning books, click on this article:

“When we read books, we tend to emphasize with characters, make connections with the book, and learn about people with different backgrounds.”

—AISB Librarian Cristina Cuzuc.

Cuzuc explains that when some of these books are pulled from the shelves, people can feel like they are alone due to the lack of representation they are experiencing.

As far as we know, there have not been any banned books within AISB. Cuzuc remarks that it is inevitable that there will be people who don’t agree with all of the books in the library, yet she believes that as a parent, you can have a discussion with your child separately, but nobody should outright ban a book.

“The library is more than that. The library is for all members of the community,” she says.

Banned Books Week Activities:

Monday through Friday, from 1:30 to 2:00pm, the following will take place in the library, where students are encouraged to read, discuss the concept of censorship, and interact with special guests.  

Monday: Members from AISB’s high school LGBTQ+ group Pride will lead discussions on how queer characters are portrayed in books, since many banned books are LGBTQ-themed.

Tuesday: Read-alouds of banned books.

Wednesday: Students can color either a “censorship divides us” poster, a “words have power” poster, or a “bad kitty reads banned books” coloring page.

Thursday: Top 10 most challenged books of 2020 crossword puzzle.

Friday: Read-alouds with an ES Librarian, followed by a Kahoot.