PELHAM, N.Y. - What do J.K. Rowling, J.D Salinger, Anne Frank and Maya Angelou have in common? They are each authors of books that have been challenged or banned in some parts of the United States.
Each year during the last week of September, the American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week. With the help of libraries and booksellers across the nation, the ALA has put a spotlight on the practice of banning books despite the right of freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
According to the ALA, nearly every library and school district across the county has a policy allowing a person to request that a book be taken off their shelves or deleted from a school curriculum.
"Even if well intentioned, censors try to limit the freedom of others to choose what they read, see, or hear," notes the ALA website.
Patricia Perito, director at the Pelham Public Library, said via email that no books have been banned at the library to the best of her knowledge but the staff has had conversations with customers about certain works.
"There have been materials that people have brought to our attention and with whom we have discussed our reasoning for purchasing the item," Perito said.
Perito said the library does acknowledge Banned Books Week and the staff has occasionally built displays and created lists to showcase banned books.
"People are sometimes very surprised to see what classics are on the list," Perito said.
Those classics that have been banned at one point or another in United States history include "Catch-22," "The Grapes of Wrath," "To Kill A Mockingbird," "Of Mice and Men," "Lord of The Flies" and even the first four Harry Potter books.
Whether the library erects displays for Banned Books Week or not, Perito said the week is still important.
"We acknowledge the week as a way of bringing attention to the danger of losing the freedom to read or censorship," Perito said.
Contact Pelham reporter Andrew Meola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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