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'Banned Books Week' observed at Bozeman Public Library amid increase in book challenges nationwide

The library shares a display of popular nationally banned books
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Posted at 4:03 PM, Oct 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-04 18:03:54-04

BOZEMAN — Nationwide, books are being banned left and right. The Bozeman Public Library shares why these types of books are being challenged and how the library is taking part in Banned Books Week.

Bethany Curran is a parent of two with one on the way. She thinks books are too good of a learning resource to be banned.

"I don’t love banned books in general," says Curran. "I think that the children should be able to learn and read those things, to be able to be exposed to different world views."

Library Director Susan Gregory says Banned Books Week started in 1982 as a response to a huge number of book challenges that were being reported around the country.

"It's a chance to look at what's been banned and to talk about why," says Gregory.

This week, the Bozeman Public Library has a display of the most popular banned books.

"Some books have been banned due to perceived notions of potty humor or like an inappropriate theme," says Librarian Ellie Newell. "Some books have been banned for their association with, like, witchcraft or something like that. For example, Harry Potter."

Gregory says the Bozeman Public Library has not faced a lot of backlash about books on their shelves. She says they've only received a low number of book challenges, which means the request to ban certain books.

"In the 12 years I've been the director, we've had maybe two challenges," says Gregory, "and in both those cases, the library board has voted to retain the material."

There does seem to be a trend of what books people push to ban.

"Actually the Bible is one of the most challenged books because of the amount of violence and sex and incest within the Scriptures," says Gregory. "Currently, a lot of people are concerned and worried about materials that have anything to do with sexual identity, gender, critical race theory, the issue of race."

For a parent like Curran, she believes banning books limits kids' education.

"I think that books are a great way to expose children to different ways of thinking outside of your home," says Curran.

Gregory encourages those who have questions or concerns about certain books to come to the library and speak with its staff.