By Amy Hunter Assistant Community Librarian

The last week of September is Banned Books Week and this year’s theme is “Words Have Power.” Since 1982, the annual celebration focuses on open and free access to information.

There was an alarming 17 percent increase in book censorship complaints in 2016, with half of the most frequently challenged books banned last year, according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The organization found that on average, 10 percent of challenges result in the removal of the book.

Sen. John F. Kennedy took up the issue in an Oct. 29, 1960 questionnaire appearing in the Saturday Review: “If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.”

Visit the library and read one of the banned books this month!