Sunday, September 21, 2014

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week September 21-27

“Information is the currency of democracy,” Thomas Jefferson once said. In that spirit, authors, readers and book lovers everywhere are once again highlighting the need for citizens to not take their democratic freedom to read for granted. Sponsored by the American Library Association, Banned Books Week (September 21-27) is an annual event celebrating your freedom to read.

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. This week, the library and book community invites you to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning by visiting your local public library.

Many area public libraries will sponsor community discussions, lectures and displays highlighting the value of free and open access to information. 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.

The books featured during Banned Books Week this year have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been banned since the creation of the printed word and continue to be, in a majority of cases these targeted books have mostly remained available to the general public. This only happens because of the efforts of concerned citizens, librarians, teachers, students and community members who vocally defend your  first amendment of the US Constitution and stand up and speak out for your freedom to read.

Moreover, we have to remember there are worse crimes than banning books—one of them in not reading them in the first place. To find out more about Banned Books Week, you can go here or call the Monroe County Library System Office at 585-428-8063.

Ove Overmyer

President, Civil Service Employees Association, City of Rochester Library Workers Local 828 Unit 7420

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