Every year, Banned Books Week celebrates freedom of information in public libraries. Banning books is censorship, and directly contradicts our mission to provide access for everyone.
Here are the top 10 most challenged books from 2020, per the American Library Association. Check them out – or check out our list of commonly challenged books over time – and celebrate your right to read!
- George by Alex Gino. Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and it included rape and profanity.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the author.
- Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote antipolice views.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students.
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Challenged for profanity, and because it was thought to promote an antipolice message.
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the rich histories and incredible achievements of the Hispanic American and Latinx communities in the United States.
Check out our book list featuring adult novels and our list of teen reads by Latinx authors if you’re looking for your next read, or take a look at the awesome resources – such as online exhibits, historical photos, and fun programs – on the official Hispanic Heritage Month website!
Here are some other fun ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:
- Support a Latinx-owned business in San Rafael
- Cook a Latin American dish and share with your friends and family
- Learn about a Latinx public figure
- Explore Latin American music
- Learn about Indigenous people in Latin America
- Choose a Latin American country and learn about it
- How much Spanish do you know?
Did you know that the San Rafael Public Library is now fine-free? And that there is no minimum age needed to get a library card? Now you know! September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, so if you know someone without a card, spread the word that signing up is as easy as filling out this form. Did we mention it’s free?
Your SPRL card also gives you access to a huge selection of completely free online resources. Do you want to read eBooks? We’ve got tons available through Libby and Hoopla. Are you a big fan of movies? Kanopy has an amazing selection. Want to brush up on that language you started learning? Check out Mango. Online access to newspapers like the Washington Post or New York Times? Our resources have you covered. We also support your research with Ancestry.com, Archives Unbound, the California Digital Newspaper Collection, and more.
We also offer Pint-Sized Storytimes online, document preservation via our Memory Lab, 3D printing, drop-in tech support, local park passes, and more, all on our Services page. All you need in order to access any of these resources is your library card number and your PIN.
(Have we mentioned yet that this is all free? Oh, we did? Well, good things bear repeating!)
In July, the San Rafael City Council approved the elimination of daily fines for adult patrons, and the elimination of the $1 library card replacement fee. The library had already removed daily fines for children’s and youth materials in 2015. These changes to fines and fees will eliminate barriers and improve equity of access for all San Rafael residents. Additionally, the national trend of eliminating overdue fines has been found to not adversely affect the return of Library materials, but instead to increase the use of the Library and its resources.
Eliminating daily fines will align our practices with many libraries in the greater Bay Area and, most importantly, with the largest library in our consortium, Marin County Free Library (MCFL). A large percentage of San Rafael residents use the Marin County Free Library’s many locations as well as San Rafael Libraries. Being consistent with MCFL policy in this area will reduce confusion in communicating to patrons about this issue. Only San Anselmo and Mill Valley libraries still charge daily fines, so San Rafael users who request books from those locations could incur daily fines if their books are overdue. In addition, patrons will still be required to pay for damaged or lost materials, but the elimination of daily fines will hopefully remove a psychological and economic barrier to access that has previously prevented patrons from fully using all the library resources.