Well, another Banned Books Week has come to an end. I wish I could say it’s the last one, but undoubtedly I’ll be here this time next year talking about this. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean you can’t do anything the rest of the year. As I said in my first post, visit any library or bookstore and check out a banned or challenged book. Even if their displays have been taken down, talk to a librarian or bookseller and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Attempts to ban books aren’t usually successful if people speak out or act to prevent it. If you see censorship taking place in your school or public library, here’s a few things you can do.
📚 Attend any school, PTA, or public library hearings where book challenges are being discussed and speak up for the First Amendment and the right to read.
📚 Write letters to local administrators, newspapers, and politicians and tell them that no one has the right to restrict access to books.
📚 Stand up for all books, even ones you don’t like. For example, I may have mentioned a few times that I don’t care for For Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James. As much as I personally dislike her writing however, I will always defend the right of others to read her books.
📚 Stay in touch with local librarians and teachers and keep informed about book challenges in your community.
📚 Here are a few organizations where you can report censorship:
* American Library’s Office of Intellectual Freedom – http://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/oif/
* Comic Book Legal Defense Fund – http://cbldf.org
* National Coalition Against Censorship – http://www.ncac.org
* National Council of Teachers of English – http://www2.ncte.org/
I cannot stress this enough: the First Amendment and the freedom to read have to be protected year round. Whether you’re a librarian, bookseller, teacher, writer, student, or parent please, PLEASE don’t be silent if you see something happening in your community. So, I’m climbing off my soapbox now. I’d like to end with this short but awesome video from Bookmans Entertainment Exchange.