If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get Out of the Library

It’s the second day of Banned Books Week! Huzzah! It’s also the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week. That’s longer than most marriages, so give them a hand.

What is Banned Books Week, you ask. What does it have to do with you? How can you get involved? Why do I keep harping on about it? Well, because I am a bard and I shall harp all I like, thank you.

Terrible puns aside, Banned Books Week raises awareness about censorship in the United States. For more information on Banned Books Week and to find a list of the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011, please check out the Banned Books Week website or like it on Facebook. If you’d like to get involved, consider making a video for the Virtual Read-Out. Info on the Virtual Read-Out can be found on the Facebook event page, or just click “Virtual Read-Out” on the Banned Books Week website.

The point of Banned Books Week (and this blog) is not about sowing stick-it-to-the-man conspiracy sentiments. It’s about having a mature conversation about literacy; about books; and about how limiting free expression and free exchange of knowledge and ideas harms us, as individuals and as a society.

Widespread access to books and, thus, ideas is what drove the Renaissance and the Enlightenment Era. Given that the founding fathers were largely influenced by Enlightenment Era thinking, it was books that built America. Banning books will do ourselves, our country, and our children no favors.

So get involved. Read up on last year’s most challenged books and whether your (child’s) school district, your library, or your local/state/federal government is part of the problem or part of the solution (Looking at you, Tucson). Or find a way to help out your local library or school’s next book fair. At the very least, set foot in a library. Poke around. Appreciate that we live in a literate society where libraries exist.

Then go home and read. Read to your kids, if you have some. Read to someone else’s kids if it’s appropriate (And legal. We at Bound and Gagged do not condone kidnapping for the purposes of spreading literacy.).

If you aren’t from America, look into books challenged in your country. There are also lists of the most internationally challenged books floating about in the ether of the internet, as well as books banned by the Catholic Church, if you’re interested.

Banned Books Week this year runs from September 30th to October 6th, so I’ll continue posting stuff all week and end with a review of The Giver on Friday. I’ll hopefully make a video for the Virtual Read-Out if work isn’t too crazy (October is our busiest month). Happy reading and stop in again soon. Remember, save a book, burn the midnight oil.

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About boundandgaggedbooks

Shannon is a freelance writer and folklore buff. She has a degree from Hampshire College in Creative Writing/Mythology & Religion, with an emphasis on epic/oral traditions, their anthropological implications, and their modern counterparts. Her work can be found in Fabulously Feminist, Wolf Wariors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology, The Concord Monitor, Redhead Magazine, and The Climax.

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