This seems like a nice way for librarians and Google to work together. Leslie Burger, ALA President, blogs on the Google blog about Banned Books Week.
Now blah blah blah whatever about Banned Books Week. I’ve made my opinion clear on this topic before. I think it should be called Buy Banned Books Week like any good shopping holiday, and there should be another whole week to talk about the nefarious spate of book challenges and what the real problems are that are causing this sort of thing in our public libraries and schools. Just because the books aren’t banned doesn’t mean there’s not a problem. On the other hand, having Google have a special Banned Books portal to highlight banned or challenged books through the ages is sort of cool and a nice ALA/Google partnership.
Of course searching for some of the books does a “library catalog search” which uses the terribly-imperfect still-beta Worldcatlibraries search which still shows me a “ready to buy?” link to Amazon.com before showing me if the book is in a library near me. Looks like there is a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird at Dartmouth… in the next state… where I don’t have a card. Remember folks, there are all sorts of ways to inhibit access to materials. Challenging and banning is one of them. Complicated and confusing software is another.