Libraries lift ban on ‘too controversial’ books

NO CENSOR ... Pauline Martin and Julia Robinson promote South Tyneside Libraries Banned Books.
NO CENSOR ... Pauline Martin and Julia Robinson promote South Tyneside Libraries Banned Books.

LIBRARIES in South Tyneside are lifting the ban on books deemed too controversial to read.

The series of books, taken off library shelves across the world for various reasons, go on display at The Central Library in South Shields and Jarrow Library from today.

South Shields Central Library's Banned Books promotion. From left Julia Robinson and Pauline Martin.

South Shields Central Library's Banned Books promotion. From left Julia Robinson and Pauline Martin.

The event is part of the annual Banned Books week, which also kicks off today.

Librarians have hand-picked more than 100 great banned books, and South Tyneside Libraries is one of 50 services taking part across the country.

Books include some surprising titles, including Harry Potter, Anne Frank’s Diary, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Black Beauty.

But equally there are some not so surprising titles, such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, A Clockwork Orange, The Satanic Verses, Lolita and American Psycho.

Librarian Pauline Martin said: “The books covers adult, teen and children’s fiction titles that have been banned either abroad or at home.

“I think some of the titles will really surprise our members and Gazette readers – and some of the reasons for banning them seem quite bizarre.

“We will be running the promotion for about the next three weeks – or until all the books are gone.

“People will be shocked by some of the books that have made the list and will be interested themselves to come and look through the sections.”

This is the second national Banned Books promotion co-ordinated by London Libraries, and its launch coincides with the 30th anniversary of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week.

Both campaigns seek to raise awareness of issues of censorship and freedom of expression.

The fiction, non-fiction and autobiographical books have been banned or challenged in this country or overseas, historically or currently – all of which will be available to borrow from local libraries.

Many were banned for being too political, sexually explicit or due to religious connotations.

To see more of the books and the reason behind their banning, visit www.banned-books.org.uk

Alternatively, pop into The Central Library in Prince Georg Square or Jarrow Library in Cambrian Street.

leah.strug@northeast-press.co.uk