Preview Shelf

Learn about Banned Books at CDPL


The Crawfordsville District Public Library would like to bring attention to books that have been banned, burned, challenged, or denied during international Banned Book Week, September 18-24. We will have several options on display for the whole month and information about why these books caused controversy.

Throughout history, various groups of power have had little confidence in the general public’s ability to draw reasonable conclusions about many different subjects. Several of these groups have led large campaigns that encouraged removing any written text that they deemed inappropriate. They smashed stone tablets with early religious text and banned educational or informative materials. They have even gone house-to-house to collect privately owned books to burn on large bonfires. Many people do not realize that “The Holy Bible” (220.5 Bib) was once a banned book.

It seems that society has nearly forgotten that the term “lest we not forget” can also refer to the written text of our allies and of our adversaries. In our contemporary history, we have watched regimes burn books in town squares and close higher education institutes for young women, seen courtroom battles over censorship on television and other media outlets, and watched public libraries close because they had reading materials that some deemed inappropriate. There is real value in knowing about the subjects that matter to you, as well as knowing about the subjects that matter to others.

The priorities of controversy change over time and books that were once banned have become classic movies. Ray Bradbury eerily brings to life the consequences of burning books to keep social order in his 1950s novel, “Fahrenheit 451” (FIC Bra) (FIC Bra SPA) (DVD FIC Fah). You may also submerge yourself in Anthony Burgess’s nightmare of extreme teenage rebellion in his highly debated book “A Clockwork Orange” (FIC Bur) (DVD FIC Clo). “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (FIC Kes) (DVD FIC One) by Ken Kesey encompasses the struggle between a tyrannical nurse and an unruly patient in the Oregon State mental hospital in the 1960s.

In “The Bluest Eye” (FIC Mor) (CDBK FIC Mor), author Toni Morrison tells the story of a young African American girl’s struggle growing up in the worst of times at the end of the Great Depression and the beginning of the World War II. If you are looking for a contemporary take on banned books, consider the powerful and disturbing story of a teenage girl who watches her childhood friend lose his life during a traffic stop in “The Hate U Give” (YA FIC Tho) (DVD FIC Hat) by Angie Thomas.

Stop by the Reference Desk on the second floor for assistance with finding these books or others. Take a moment to appreciate our extensive collection of reading materials that embraces the diverse community we live in. If you are interested in acquiring a CDPL library card, searching our catalog in advance, or signing up for an upcoming program, visit our website at or call us at 765-362-2242. CDPL is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.


Toni Ridgway-Woodall is a library assistant in the Reference and Local History department at the Crawfordsville District Public Library.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here