Banned Books Week and Soft Censorship

When a book isn’t banned outright, it can be tempted to heave a sigh of relief. At least people can still read it. Right?


For those of you who aren’t familiar with soft bans, this is when a school or a district doesn’t entirely remove a book. Instead, the book is removed from library shelves to be kept in a safe area. Students can check them out if they have parental permission.

This means yet another piece of paper for parents to sign. Another piece of paper for school staff to deal with. And the assumption that a young reader will go up to the librarian and ask for this restricted book.

And, yes. There are young readers who will. My son would have been at the desk every time he entered the library. Maybe it would be because he wanted to read the book. But it would be even more likely that he wanted to stir something up. He has that type of personality. Where oh where did that come from? Ahem.

But then there are the young readers who may need to read about an LGTBQ character much like themselves. Will they have the nerve to ask for the book?

And all of this assumes that the young reader even knows that a particular book exists. A lot of books are discovered simply because someone sees the book and thinks, “This looks interesting.”

This is Banned Books Week. I thought this poster giving details about banning was pretty interesting. Why do people ban books? By and large, they would say that they are protecting the children. For some. ideas and people that are different are very scary things.

Sadly, many of the books that are challenged, either with a soft ban or an actual ban, are challenged because of gender, sexual, or racial content. I’m not saying that parents shouldn’t parent but by narrowing access to a book, you aren’t parenting just your child. You’re parenting mine. And really, we all know why my kid is the one who would demand a restricted book.

What banned book are you reading this week? To read more about soft bans, check out this article.