Hello, Readers, September 21, 2017
Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, is being held this week. For this year’s celebration, the coalition of organizations that sponsors Banned Books Week will emphasize the importance of the First Amendment, which guarantees our inherent right to read.
Censorship is happening and it is infringing on the right of readers According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) - which tracks reports of book challenges and bans and compiles an annual Top Ten Challenged Books List - there was an alarming 17 percent increase in book censorship complaints in 2016. Since most challenges are not reported, the actual number is probably much higher. Even more disturbing, while only 10 percent of the titles reported to OIF are normally removed from the institutions receiving the challenges, half of the most frequently challenged books were actually banned last year.
The Banned Books Week Coalition (BBWC) is responding with “Our Right To Read,” a celebration of the diverse range of ideas found in books, and our right as citizens to make our own intellectual choices.
BBWC Chair Charles Brownstein says, “Our free society depends on the right to access, evaluate, and voice a wide range of ideas. Book bans chill that right, and increase division in the communities where they occur. This Banned Books Week, we’re asking people of all political persuasions to come together and celebrate Our Right to Read.”
See page 4a for a list of banned books that shaped America.