Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

Purple and Green BBW logo

Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.

Celebrate the right to read. The Goffstown Public Library supports your Constitutional right to access the information you want and hopes you will exercise that right by reading a challenged book. Visit the Library to interact with this week’s banned book displays, check out a book, or participate in one of the special activities on the calendar.

Banned Books Week is an annual week-long event celebrating the freedom to read, highlighting the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 on YouTube

Celebrate Banned Books Week September 26 - October 2

Some people find the name “Banned Books Week” confounding. Banned Books Week doesn’t promote banning books, rather, it was created to alert readers everywhere that literary repression is still happening. Banned Books Week tips a hat to the continued vigilance and advocacy through which the number of challenged books far exceeds the number of books which are actually banned.

The origins of Banned Books Week lie in the 1982 Supreme Court ( 4-3) ruling in Island Trees School District v. Pico. The Court determined that the removal of books from a school library by a school board (in response to complaints about objectionable content) violated students’ first amendment rights by impinging on their freedom to read. The Court’s majority established libraries as places of “voluntary inquiry,” places which embrace the idea that there are no ideas so dangerous that they cannot be discussed or read about, even if many people find them unorthodox, unconventional, or distasteful. Protective covenants established in the Island Trees decision reverberated throughout public libraries, publishing, bookselling and journalism. Candid dialogue between professionals in all of these fields led to the establishment of the coalition which created Banned Books Week. Their website is www.bannedbooksweek.org.

Authors whose work has been challenged comprise a Who’s Who of the literary world while also making strange bedfellows; only in censorship would you find Stephen King, Harper Lee, L. Ron Hubbard, Toni Morrison, J.D. Salinger, Shakespeare, Danielle Steel and William Faulkner keeping company. Since the 1990s, The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom compiles an annual list of titles which have been most frequently challenged and/or banned (http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks). These lists can be a reflection of imminent social sea change; eight of this year’s top ten banned and challenged titles feature LGBTQIA+ content. The ever-increasing popularity of e-books begs the question of whether censorship will become harder to defend against in future; while digital materials cannot be hidden, defaced or burned, it only takes destructive technological know-how, a software update or a power outage to render them inaccessible.

Word cloud of reasons books have been challenged.

For those further interested in Banned Books Week, we suggest two informative videos on YouTube : Ask Me Anything About Censorship with Kristin Pekoll, geared towards adult public library patrons, and Banned Books 101, aimed at students in grades 6-12. As always, you can get more information at the Goffstown Public Library, or contact Director Dianne Hathaway directly through dianneh@goffstownlibrary.com.

The American Library Association has been tracking challenges since 1990, for more information, visit https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks.

In an effort to ensure that the Goffstown Public Library is able to remain open and to protect the health of all visitors and staff the Library Board of Trustees has voted to require masks while inside the library building. We decided to reinstate the mask requirement due to the inability to properly distance while in the building, the transmissibility of Delta and other COVID variants, and the rising infection rates in New Hampshire. Parking lot pick up will remain an option to allow everyone that does not wish to enter the building while masks are required access to books and materials. The Library Board of Trustees will continue to monitor the information available to us. We thank you for your cooperation.

Effective 08/23/2021, visitors will be required to wear masks while inside the library.

Authorized by a unanimous vote of the Library Board of Trustees on 08/18/2021.

The Goffstown Public Library has received $2,979 in grant funding thanks to federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the New Hampshire State Library. The grant funds received will support our efforts to increase access to services and resources.

Using these grant funds, we’ve purchased two, ten-foot by twenty-foot canopies to provide shade and comfort for outdoor programs and events. We have scheduled many outdoor events for all ages as part of our annual Summer Experience to allow for more access to events. In addition, we purchased tables, a battery-operated microphone and speaker for story times, outdoor games, and other necessities to make our outdoor space an extension of our library building.

Outdoor space in use during Story Time event July 2021
Outdoor space in use during Story Time event July 2021.

Grant funds will also support the library’s hoopla streaming service, by providing additional content. hoopla is a platform available to our cardholders and offers thousands of e-books, e-audiobooks, comics, movies, and television programs. Those interested in accessing or learning more about the digital services should call and speak with a librarian at 603-497-2102, email goflib@goffstownlibrary.com, or check out our page at www.goffstownlibrary.com/digital.

To learn more about ARPA funding, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/american-rescue-plan/.

One canopy on the lawn
IMLS logo

CSLP Blue Whale holding a book swimming in light blue sea
CSLP Piranha holding tablets swimming in blue sea
CSLP Lion, mouse, opossum reading books
CSLP Blue Whale holding a book swimming in light blue sea
CSLP Piranha holding tablets swimming in blue sea
CSLP Lion, mouse, opossum reading books

June 28 - August 13, 2021

The 2021 summer reading theme is Tails and Tales where we celebrate animals and stories about them. We have a Tales and Tails program for each age group – Adults 17+, Tweens and Teens ages 10-18, and Children preschool ages and up.

Summer Experience for All Ages

Reading helps young children gain confidence and develop reading and language skills. Set your children up for success – visit the library this summer! Teens will have a blast with fun in-person and virtual events and be motivated to read and discuss literature.

Adults look forward to summer as much as kids do. Summer is a great time to relax and catch up on reading—joining the Summer Experience is an opportunity to have fun, explore new interests, and interact with one another.

Our staff has a great Summer Experience planned for all ages, with many events to be held in our new outdoor space. This summer, our programs will be hybrid to meet the needs of everyone.

Summer Concert Series

GPL & Parks & Recreation logosCap a perfect summer day with a live musical performance outdoors. The Goffstown Public Library and the Goffstown Parks and Recreation Department are proud to present four concerts on alternating Thursday evenings in July and August.

Bring a blanket, low-slung chairs, a picnic, and get ready for an early evening’s outstanding music making. Fun for all ages! No registration required. 

THURSDAYS at 6-7pm

July 1 at Barnard Park
The Quickfire Band, five seasoned musicians who play traditional country, classic rock, blues, rockabilly, and Western Swing.

July 15 at Roy Park
Real Fallu and Company! Relax to the sounds of this peerless acoustic duo, performing folk music at its finest.

July 29 at Barnard Park
Speed the Plough, three musicians that will play traditional music from the Celtic world.

August 12, 6-7p at Roy Park (Rain Date: August 19)
Anderson-Gram, Singer/songwriter husband and wife duo Anderson-Gram will bookend this year’s concert series with an acoustic hour of sensational guitar-playing and harmonizing vocals.

IMLS logoThe state-wide READsquared subscription for NH public libraries has been funded by the FY20 IMLS CARES Act grant, through the New Hampshire State Library. In addition, our Summer Experience was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the New Hampshire State Library.

The Goffstown Public Library is open:

  • Parking Lot Pick-Up remains an option for those who choose to maintain contactless pick-up. Call us at 603-497-2102 from the parking lot, open your trunk/back door, and we will place your items there.
  • Some seating will not be available, and computers may be limited to allow for social distancing. Computer usage is now back to a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The Children’s Room will not be available for play.

Be well.

Dianne Hathaway
Library Director
dianneh@goffstownlibrary.com