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Banned Book Week: Home

September 22−28, 2013

Books from our catalog

Banned Book Week

Banned Book Week is an annual observance of the American Library Association held  to draw attention to the problem of censorship in Public and School libraries. It is normally held on the last week of September.

History of Banned Book Week

Inspired by the Banned Book Exhibit at the American Booksellers Association Convention in Anaheim, the first Banned Book Week celebration was held Sept. 5-11, 1982. It was jointly sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, and the National Association of College Book Stores.

Their slogan was "Caution! Some People Consider These Books Dangerous!"

-Library Journal Sept. 21, 1982

Precious Knowledge: A Film about the censorship of ethnic studies

Precious Knowledge portrays the one of the final years of the highly successful but controversial Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School. The program was a national model of educational success — 93 percent of its enrolled students graduating from high school and 85 percent going on to attend college, bucking a statewide trend that saw only 48 percent of Latino students graduating at all. The program taught Mexican and American history, as well as Central and South American literature and culture. But the political tide shifted in Arizona in the 2000s. The state passed extremely controversial immigration laws, which some civil libertarians equated to racial profiling. Legislative sessions in the state became heated and rife with recriminations. And when lawmakers turned their attention to Tucson High’s ethnic studies program, it became a lightning rod in the public conversation about race. Opponents of the program launched a campaign to convince the public that ethnic studies teach everything from communism to terrorism to “reverse racism.” Students and their teachers fight hard to preserve their program, marching to the statehouse, holding vigils, and testifying before lawmakers. They invite their legislators to visit their classrooms, and all but one refuse. When he does visit, he criticizes the poster of Che Guevara on the wall, and suggests that a poster of Benjamin Franklin would be more appropriate. At the center of the debate was Paulo Freire’s textbook, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which the school’s instructors used for the ethnic studies classes. The book is a famous example of critical race theory, which looks at and acknowledges the influence of institutional racism in America on non-dominant groups. The theory has been criticized as Marxist. In 2011 Arizona lawmakers passed a bill giving unilateral power to the state superintendent of schools to abolish ethnic studies classes. The fight to restore ethnic studies continues in Arizona and in other states, as education continues to adapt to a changing population.


Roosevelt's downtown library has a DVD copy of this film available for three-hour checkout.

GN307.85.U6 P73 2011

Chicago Media--Auditorium 10th Floor
c.1 Temporarily Shelved at: Chicago Circulation Desk