It seems hard to believe that some in our nation are still debating whether JD Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" belongs in libraries. But that book and hundreds of others continue to be challenged each year by those who would limit free speech. In Montana, books like "The Joy of Gay Sex," "
Fools Crow," and, yes, "Catcher in the Rye," have all been challenged.
The ACLU of Montana takes these challenges seriously. They are attacks on our right to read what we choose and attempts to limit the free flow of ideas that is so essential to an educated, informed public. Most recently, in 2010 a parent challenged the use of the book "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" in Helena high schools. The ACLU was there to testify for retention of the book., and we are happy to report that the challenge was withdrawn. In February 2012 we submitted a letter to the Geraldine School District urging it to not remove that same book from its curriculum.
Do your part to stand up for free speech!
- A primer on the history of American and Montana challenges
- American Library Association Banned Books Week website
- Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (42 have been banned/challenged)
- YouTube video showing 100 most banned books from 1990-2000
- Montana Banned Books
3. Read about the court cases that upheld our right to read what we choose and for bookstores and libraries to have the freedom to choose the books they put on their shelves.
- Board of Education v. Pico -- A Long Island School Board in 1982 removes from school libraries all books on a list compiled by political conservatives
- Hannegan v. Esquire -- Supreme Court rules the U.S. Postmaster cannot deny "Esquire" magazing a second-class postage permit based on content
- Reno v. ACLU -- Supreme Court rules the Communications Decency Act is unconstitutional censoring of the Internet
4. Read a banned book.