Celebrating Banned Books Week is all about risk-taking. By celebrating titles that have been, or might be, banned in a library, those working with teens are saying to the world, “Look, we have controversial books in the library and we are proud of it.” That’s quite a risk and it’s a risk that many teen librarians accept and value.

In this video, Connie Urquhart and Lisa Lindsay (Fresno County Public Library) talk about the risks they’ve taken in collection development and in teen services – Including risks that went really well and risks that weren’t as successful as was hoped.

Risk taking in collection development and in teen services doesn’t always come from hailing controversial, or possibly controversial, materials with community members at a specific time of year. It also also comes when talking with co-workers about titles in the collection, trying to get buy-in from colleagues about new genres to add to the collection, and even when having day-to-day conversations with teens about a variety of topics that might come up.

Banned Books Week gives teen librarians the chance to celebrate together their risk taking endeavors. Don’t forget that risk taking in teen services is an every month of the year endeavor. Celebrate your risks with teens and the community as often as you are able.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

3 Thoughts on “Banned Books Week: All About Risky Business

  1. These Banned Books Week resources may also be of interest:

    American Library Association Shamed,” by Nat Hentoff, Laurel Leader-Call, 2 March 2007.

    Banned Books Week and the ALA,” by Dennis Ingolfsland, The Recliner Commentaries, 4 August 2009.

    “‘Censors’ Are So Scary,” by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 6 October 2008.

    Finding Censorship Where There Is None,” by Mitchell Muncy, Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2009, p.W13.

    National Hogwash Week,” as coined by Thomas Sowell. And this resource has a long, updated list of BBW-related articles.

    US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books,” by Sara Hussein, Agence France-Presse [AFP], 6 September 2009.

    Various Humbugs Regarding Banned Books Week, by Mateo Palos, Mateo Palos, 27 September 2009.

  2. In all fairness, I hereby credit YALSA with publishing my comment.

    And in the AFP article, I am quoting as saying, and I did, something I’m sure all YALSA members might cheer:

    “‘It is wrong to say that children should not have books because the Earth is not older than 6000 years. It is wrong to say children should not have books because there’s witchcraft in them. This is silly,’ he told AFP, referring to some of the arguments put forward by religious fundamentalists.”

  3. I think that is great. I have been reading all of my life & I have loved some of the books that are contraversial & those that people want to ban. I think it is stupid to ban books. I could not live without my books. Had my school not had some on witchcraft, I would not know the whole truth about the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600s. I read a book a few years ago that some people would probable ban because of it’s graphic telling of the author’s life in concentration camps & what that life was really like.

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