LEXINGTON, Ky. — George Orwell, Judy Blume, and Stephen King. What do these authors have in common?
They all wrote books that have been targeted for removal from libraries or school shelves. And this week, Lexington Public Libraries are celebrating those books during Banned Books Week from September 18 through September 24.
"This is to celebrate our freedom of choice, to be able to read what you want to read," said Anne Donworth, the library's Director of Development, Communications and Marketing.
Donworth says Banned Books Week is a nationwide movement highlighting the importance of intellectual freedom. It's happening as libraries nationwide face more attempts to ban books.
In 2021, the American Library Association tracked 729 challenges to books in libraries and schools across the country. The most targeted books were by or about Black history, Black experiences, or LGBTQ+ identities.
"It's important to read these books that can be difficult," Donworth said. "But it's also important to talk about them and understand why those books are important and why it might make you think a bit differently."
Despite consistent challenges, most targeted books are still available on library shelves across the U.S. Donworth says that's every library's goal.
"Really letting people be individuals and read what's important to them," she said.
Anyone who would like to participate in Banned Books Week can post a selfie with their favorite controversial book and tag @lexpublib or use the hashtag #LPLReads.
The library is also launching a Banned Book Club for teens. The first session is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 20 at the Northside Public Library. Students will discuss Genderqueer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe.