Celebrate Banned Book Week 2015!

Banned Book Week was launched in 1982 in order to bring attention to a surge of challenges that schools, bookstores and libraries were getting. The American Library Association (ALA) reports that more than 11,300 books have been challenged since then. According to the ALA, “A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported.”

Banned Book Week September 27 - October 3, 2015
Banned Book Week September 27 through October 3, 2015


The Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded 311 challenges  in 2014.

Here are a few books of interest to Engineering and Science that have been banned at one time or another:

  • Banned in 17th Century Europe:  Any writing or discussion demonstrating the heliocentric nature of the universe.
  • Writings by Physicist and Astronomer Galileo Galilei: He was charged and convicted of heresy by the Inquisition in 1632 for writing, “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”  Main Library QB41 .G1356 1967
  • Banned in schools in Tennessee following the Butler Act of 1925:  Books and teaching materials on Darwinian evolution theory, including The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin  Main Library QH365 .O2 1979.
  • Banned in Menifee School District, California:  Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary   Hardin Library For Health Sci Library PE1628 W4M4 1993 banned for having definitions that were too explicit.
  • Banned in the United States for being too accurate in its scientific initiative: The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, written in 1960 by Robert Brent and illustrated by Harry Lazarus.

Many books which are considered classics have also been targets of challenges and attempts to ban them. Check out which books here: http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/.  There are also links to the top 100 fiction and top 100 nonfiction titles.

If you are interested in exploring Leonardo da Vinci’s engineering works, check out Doing da Vinci. Four builders and engineers attempt to build never-before-constructed inventions! The 2-disc set looks at his armored tank, siege ladder, self-propelled carts and even a machine gun! Will his creations actually work? Doing da Vinci will show you!

We have many resources that relate to Darwin, Galileo, and da Vinci. Come explore our library and find these titles and more!


Banned & Challenged Books. 1996-2015. American Library Association.

Banned Book Week.  http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

Baron, Dennis.  Webster’s Banned for too much sex.  https://illinois.edu/blog/view/25/20915

Other Resources:

Banned Books. Powered by Weebly. Date accessed: September 23, 2015

Don’t Take the Freedom to Read for Granted. September 22, 2015.  American Libraries: A publication of the American Library Association.