Tag Archives: freedom of expression

Banned Books Week September 25-October 1, 2016

Since we’re all about the Constitution this campaign season, it seems timely to take note of the First Amendment:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment is the foundation that informs Banned Books Week 2016 – and that underscores this year’s observation. For more than thirty years Banned Books week has waved the Banned Books Week banner with a bold, noisy, in-your-face celebration of the Constitutional right to speak and be heard, to write and be read.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Each of the books featured during BBW has been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools.

Though books have been and continue to be banned, one message of Banned Books Week is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This fact reflects the efforts of librarians, writers, booksellers, journalists, teachers, students, parents and community members who have exercised the freedom to read.

As in the past, resources – informational and promotional – abound. Truth to tell, there is just so much good stuff that it’s impossible to post all the links and all the treasures. Still, some useful starting points:

For an example of a robust agenda of BBW activities check out the plans created through the collaborative efforts of the St Paul Public Library and Metropolitan State University — http://sppl.org/banned

Creative ideas and promotional materials for Banned Books Week 2016 abound! These links will simply open doors – behind those doors you’ll find posters, graphics, lists, tip sheets and tons of other materials that can be duplicated and posted as appropriate in your classroom, library, bookstore, coffee house, community gathering site or digital network.

The point is to value the right to read, to tap the resources, and to collaborate so that we work as a community, as members of  concerned professions and as a democratic society to capitalize on the potential of Banned Books Week to serve as a “teachable moment.”



The Banned Books of Our Times

Apologies that this did not get out before the event. [Publisher’s note]

Banned in 2009 or 2010?  You’re in good company – with the likes of Maya Angelou, Marc Brown, Barbara Ehrenreich and Ernest Hemingway – and then again there’s Adolf Hitler.  They are a few score others are on this year’s list of Books Challenged or Banned in 2009-2010, compiled by Robert P. Doyle for the American Library Association.  It’s the lynchpin of Banned Books Week sponsored by ALA in collaboration with a half dozen organizations representing booksellers, publishers, authors and readers.  The aborted burning of the Qur-an has put a unique spin on this year’s recognition.

Some of the BBW messages are overt – exhibits, editorials, banners and badges.  Other are more subtle reminders that defending the rights and privileges of freedom deserves focused attention along with constant vigilance.  One blogger expresses the range of rights and privileges thus:

We enjoy the freedom to read.

We enjoy the freedom of expression.

We enjoy the freedom of the press.

We enjoy freedom of speech.

We enjoy freedom to study, research and publish.

We enjoy freedom to worship as we like

We enjoy the freedom to assemble and influence each other.

We enjoy the freedom to choose our leaders.

We have the right be schools, be well, be without fear, and more.

Joel Kramer, Editor and CEO of MinnPost, is featured speaker at one of Minnesota’s major BBW activities.  The Annual Dinner and Program sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition for Intellectual Freedom is Wednesday, September 22, 5:30 p.m. at the AAUW Clubhouse, 990 Summit Avenue in St. Paul.  For details contact Michael O’Sullivan (952 423 3492 or osulli14@frontiernet.net).