The Santa Barbara Public Library System is observing the annual Banned Books Week this year with displays in several branches that included a list of the top 100 banned/challenged books.
Banned Books Week runs through Saturday.
The display in the lobby case of the Central Library drew a lot of attention from visitors during the Book and Author Festival over the weekend. In addition to the list, copies of some of the books on the list formed part of the montage, including “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut, “Beloved” by Toni Morrison and “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson.
Color copies of other books that have been challenged by people who wanted them removed from schools or libraries festooned the list, along with yellow caution tape and a copy of the First Amendment and the Library Bill of Rights.
Some library patrons who gave only a cursory look at the exhibit worried that the list contained the names of books that the library had banned from its collection. The display was to meant to raise consciousness about intellectual freedom and affirm the Library’s commitment to the freedom to read. In fact, most of the listed books are owned and freely circulated by the Santa Barbara Public Library System.
The list of 100 top banned/challenged books is now on view inside the Central Library, with a nearby sign that reads, “Have you read any banned books lately?”
Christine Gallery is a reference librarian for the Santa Barbara Public Library.