Everyone has a right to read


There have been about 130 million books published in all of history, according to Googles algorithms. Books are an essential part of our society. We use them for everything from learning to entertainment. However, books are often banned or censored in libraries all across the United States. Should we censor books because they contain themes or content that some people are not comfortable with? No, we should not.

Book challenges are insanely common. In 2017, 237 books were challenged across America. The American Library Association (ALA) defines a challenge as “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.” If a challenge is successful, the book is banned and removed.

Most book challenges happen in public libraries. Not school libraries like one would think.

Orange City, Iowa is trying to ban or label LGBT+ books in the county library. Over 300 people have signed a petition because they believe the library is “pushing an agenda” that is against those of faith in the community. People on the opposite side of the argument state that, while they are offended by many things in the public library, it wasn’t up to them to decide that people couldn’t read them.

According to the ALA, the top five challenged books in 2016 all contained LGBT+ themes. In 2017, several were banned because they talked of suicide, or they discussed sex education. Several were also challenged because they did not fit someone’s religious viewpoint.

Banning a book because it is not suitable for the age group it is directed at is understandable; a children’s book should not contain vulgar language. However, banning a book because a few people believe it contains material that children are not ready to learn, or don’t want children to learn, is not okay.

Books are an important part of society and to the personal lives of people. Books can introduce readers to things they might never have learned otherwise. Books with LGBT+ characters can help teens learn more about themselves and their own identities. Such as reading The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Daniel Heath Justice helped me identify my own bisexuality.

Banning books because someone does not want others to read them is not right. It is not one person’s job to decide what people can read, just because they don’t agree with the subject matter or content.