Thousands of libraries and bookstores nationwide, including the New Mexico State Library, the Santa Fe Public Library, and the Palace of the Governors, will celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 23-30, 2006.
The State Library encourages the general public to attend this year's presentation "Banned Books Exposed!" on Sunday, September 24 at 2 pm at the Santa Fe Public Library, 145 Washington Avenue. Featured presenters are Val Nye, assistant professor and librarian at the Fogelson Library, College of Santa Fe and Beth Aeby Teel, library specialist at Sombrillo Elementary School in Espanola who tours the state telling stories and singing medieval ballads as the New Mexico Troubador and is currently writing a book to accompany her ballad on the history of the first atomic bomb.
Following the "Banned Books Exposed!" presentation, Pamela S. Smith, author, guest curator, former director of the Palace Press will lead a tour of Lasting Impressions: The Private Presses of New Mexico, at the Palace of the Governors. Smith is author of Passions in Print: Private Press Artistry in New Mexico, 1834 - present. The afternoon event is free of charge and open to the public. Banned Books Exposed! is a "Lasting Impressions" event funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS, a federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities, supports the New Mexico State Library and Palace of the Governors.
What kind of books are we talking about? The challenges are most often initiated at schools and school libraries by concerned parents. According to the ALA, the "10 Most Challenged Books of 2005" were: "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie H. Harris; "Forever" by Judy Blume; "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger; "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier; "Whale Talk" by Chris Crutcher; "Detour for Emmy" by Marilyn Reynolds; "What My Mother Doesn't Know" by Sonya Sones; The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey; "Crazy Lady!" by Jane Leslie Conly; "It's So Amazing!" A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families" by Robie H. Harris.
Off the top ten list this year, but on for several years past are the Alice series of books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. Also not in the top 10 but of interest locally, Rudolfo Anaya's "Bless Me, Ultima" is fairly frequently banned, most recently in Colorado in 2005.