Banned Books Week: September 29- October 6
Celebrate Banned Books Week, Exercise Your Freedom to Read
Although this may sound like the ALA party line, it is important to recognize that there are still book challenges that effect us. One of the most recent challenges is of Sandpiper by Ellen Wittlinger. (Read about the recent challenge of this book at the Tuscaloosa News.com website.) Another case is woman who won’t return It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris to the library. She’s willing to pay for the items, but refuses to return them. I’m not sure what part of the term “borrow” she misunderstood.
One of the common reasons why books are challenged is for their sexual content. I think it’s natural for folks to be curious about sex. It gets to be a touchy subject when it come to what is age appropriate. Granted I’m on my soapbox when I say that it depends on the individual situation. It’s hard to say across the board what is age appropriate. I think it’s important that parents know their children. Open communication is key. Personally I think it’s safer if a child reads about sex in a book rather than experimenting on their own. In any case people should have the ability to find the information that they seek.
I’ve seen my own share of censorship in my library. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to confront my censor. My censor chooses to deface books by putting his or her opinions in the margins and making corrections to the text, in pen no less. This person doesn’t borrow the books and we come across this destruction of property either when we’re shelf reading or when another library user finds the book and lets us know about the vandalism.
I’m all for having opinions and a point of view, however I’m not for vandalism and infringing on others’ rights to read something without comment or bias. Exercise your freedom to read this week and year round. Reading and free speech are rights that many choose not to exercise and so many of us take it for granted that we will always have them. However as we have seen in history and in recent events (namely what’s going down in Myanmar), freedoms that we exercise should not be take for granted.