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Celebrate Your Freedom to Choose at the LPL with Banned Books Week

3 years ago

So many books around the U.S. have been challenged for so many reasons.

That's why the American Library Association is zealous about Banned Books Week.

You can celebrate your freedom to read what you want with us from Sunday, Sept. 26 to Saturday, Oct. 3, Banned Books Week 2021.

I wrote this week's column for the community weekly newspaper The Star Review about the event.

Banned Books Logo

If you haven't seen it around Liverpool, you can read it here:

Every year, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) keeps a keen eye on the efforts made around the country to ban or restrict access to books. In 2020, the ALA says, the OIF counted 156 challenges seeking to remove or restrict access to 273 books.

In 1982, the ALA began Banned Books Week for libraries across the U.S. to raise awareness in their communities about the need protect and promote the interests of intellectual freedom.

This year’s Banned Books Week runs from Sunday, Sept. 26, to Saturday, Oct. 2. Expect to find librarians and staff members promoting activities throughout the community that shine a spotlight on the power of the freedom to choose what you want to read.

Included will be a scavenger hunt to seek titles of 16 famous books that have ended up on the banned lists over the years. The covers of the books will be scattered throughout community businesses and the library grounds, waiting to be discovered during Banned Book Week. Details of the contest are available on the library website.

The ALA theme for this year’s event is Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us.

“Banned Books Week is a celebration of our freedom to read,” said LPL Community Engagement Coordinator Maggie Foster. “There’s no censorship, no rules saying, ‘No, that’s not a good book,’ because to me, there’s no such thing as a bad book!

“When you read a book you learn about our history, whether that be a specific event or just a style of the time, and offers us a chance to grow from our discovery,” Foster said. “The idea of something radical enough within a book to warrant being banned or challenged tells me I should read it if I want to understand humanity better.”

Joellyn Murry, LPL Children and Family Services coordinator, said those who challenge books start right off in the children’s section. The list is long, including familiar titles such as Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

“Instead of shying away from banned books, we can use this week as an opportunity to kick off a conversation with our children about why these books were banned and the values they think it does or does not reflect,” Murry said.

Find our website page for Banned Books Week 2021 here.