The ALA has been keeping track of book challenges since the early 1980s. Banned Book Week was established as a way of raising the issue while celebrating free expression. This year, Sept. 23-30 marks the 25th annual "Banned Book Week."
Judith Krug, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, cited possible factors for the decline:
1. Librarians are better prepared to organize community support on behalf of a book
2. Online content could be taking the focus away from print
The ALA defines challenges as "formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness." For every challenge listed, about four to five go unreported, according to the library association.
Topping the list of the most "challenged" book of 2005 was "It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health," by Robie Harris. J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye," Judy Blume's "Forever" and Robert Cormier's "The Chocolate War," continue to be among the top ten. They are usually challenged because of "sexual content" and inappropriate language.
I like the remarks of one reporter.
"The Catcher in the Rye"? Can't folks find a new book to ban? It's 55 years old, for goodness sake. Holden Caulfield is on social security.