It’s Banned Books Week! Celebrate by reading a banned book

2014 Banned Books Week

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

It’s no secret that we love public libraries. Free and open access to libraries is a way to level the educational playing field, provide high-speed internet access to those who can’t get it otherwise, introduce people to ideas and insights they might not otherwise be exposed to and helps cultivate a healthy democracy. Despite these virtues, there are those that seek to censor the ideas libraries are tasked to curate. Each year, libraries must deal with book challenges. Sometimes these challenges result in material being removed from the library.

Chew on that for a minute: Materials being removed from the library. Materials like the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Sure, some of the materials that appear on the list contain content that is difficult for some to digest but so does life. Having these materials available may provide relief to someone going through a difficult life challenge and develop empathy in others who will never face that particular challenge, but have people in their life who are dealing with it.

John F. Kennedy said: “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

Don’t be afraid of your fellow Americans. Support your local library, celebrate your freedom to read and pick up a “banned” book!