Banned Books Week is an event that is observed every year during the last week of the month of September. This year, Banned Books Week runs from September 25 to October 2.
In 1982, librarian Judith Krug helped establish the first Banned Books Week. At the time, Ms. Krug was the director of the American Library’s Association Office for Intellectual Freedom. Ms. Krug is quoted as saying, “…libraries serve the information needs of all of the people in the community — not just the loudest, not just the most powerful, not even just the majority. Libraries serve everyone.”
In fact, Ms. Krug argued that books even she herself found offensive should not be banned from the public at large, and that “My personal proclivities have nothing to do with how I react as a librarian.”
In 2002, Krug related this humorous story to The Chicago Tribune, acknowledging her parents as the people who first instilled in her an appreciation for freedom of speech:
At about the age of twelve, young Judith was caught late one night by her mother with a flashlight and a sex education book.
“It was a hot book; I was just panting,” Krug recalled.
When her mother walked in and asked what she was doing, Krug was forced to show her the book.
“She said, ‘For God’s sake, turn on your bedroom light so you don’t hurt your eyes.’ And that was that,” Ms. Krug said.
Judith Krug died of stomach cancer on April 11, 2009 at the age of 69, but she left a lasting legacy – Banned Books Week celebrates our freedom of expression and our right to read whatever we, as individuals, should so choose.