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San Diego Public Library Highlights Banned Books By Reading Censored Books Aloud

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With the Internet allowing access to just about any kind of information these days, the concept of banning books seems like something from another century.

But, every year, books in libraries and schools continue to be challenged — and some of them are removed.

On Friday, the San Diego Public Library will mark National Banned Books week, with a Banned Books Read-Aloud event.

Most books are banned because parents don’t want children exposed to literature they don’t agree with. Heather Fowler, author of "Catholic Girls Smile," she told KPBS Midday Edition reading restricted books is valuable.

“It’s important to support authors when you see them being banned. That is how some of the most interesting and diverse voices can appear and really get the sort of readership they need,” she said.

The San Diego Public Library follows the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights" which reads in part, "Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment."

The ALA first issued its Freedom to Read statement, in 1953. An exerpt from that statement reads, "We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be 'protected' against what others think may be bad for them."

The library's policy on challenging books or materials in the library collection permits people to fill out a "Request for Reconsideration" form which library staff use when considering whether to remove materials from circulation.

According to BannedBooksWeek.org, the 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:

The Captain Underpants series, by Dav Pilkey, was at the top of the banned books list in 2013 due to offensive language and violence according to BannedBooksWeek.org.

'Captain Underpants' (series), by Dav Pilkey — Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

'The Bluest Eye', by Toni Morrison — Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian', by Sherman Alexie — Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

'Fifty Shades of Grey', by E.L. James — Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

'The Hunger Games', by Suzanne Collins — Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

'A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl', by Tanya Lee Stone — Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

'Looking for Alaska', by John Green — Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', by Stephen Chbosky — Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

'Bless Me Ultima', by Rudolfo Anaya — Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

'Bone' (series), by Jeff Smith — Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

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