Upon reviewing the list of banned/challenged books, I realized that many of the classics I read when I was younger are on this list. It is absolutely outrageous. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity, freedom and choice to choose what I read. The privilege of reading many of these "banned/challenged" books have helped shape me and make me the person I am today. I am truly thankful that I can enjoy the privilege of reading the writings of others, to gain insight into another person's pearls of wisdom, and to contemplate different concepts and possibilities. It is amazing how such a solitary act, the act of reading, can have a profound effect on an individual as well as the world around us. It should never be taken for granted, and always be recognized.
The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children. These challenges are not only an attempt to suppress expression of a point of view; they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best—their parents!
In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, I choose to partake in the annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. Banned Books Weeks had its inception in 1982 and promotes freedom to read by encouraging individuals to participate in special events, exhibits, and read-outs that showcase books that have been banned or threatened.
American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Read an old favorite or a new banned book this week.