Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


September 23, 2011

Weekly Geek: The freedom to read

Greensburg — Saturday marks the beginning of Banned Books Week and the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library is hosting a Banned Books READ OUT at the Tree City Fall Festival! The READ OUT will begin at 11 a.m. and continue throughout the day with community members reading from challenged or banned books. Stop by the booth located near the War Memorial on the courthouse square. The schedule of readers is as follows:

11:00 -11:30 - Julia Hunter reading from the works of Shel Silverstein

11:30 - 12:00 - Kathy Shroyer reading from The Glass Castle

12:00 - 12:30 - Bryan Robbins reading from Brave New World

12:30 - 1:00 - Andrea Wright reading from Captain Underpants

1:00 - 1:30 - June Ryle reading from To Kill a Mockingbird

1:30 - 2:00 - Amy Kuhns reading from Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

2:00 - 2:30 - Elizabeth Bailey reading from The Giver

2:30 - 3:00 - Andrea Ingmire reading from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

3:00 - 3:30 -Joe Hodson reading from The Hunger Games

3:30 - 4:00 - Ken Dornick reading from Winnie the Pooh

4:00 - 4:30 - Glenn Tebbe reading from Huck Finn

4:30 - 5:00 - Kathy Verseman reading from Twilight

5:00 - 5:30 - Laura Wellborn reading from Of Mice and Men

5:30 - 6:00 - Jami Rayles reading from the works of Shel Silverstein

6:00-6:30 - Bonnie Fischer reading from Charlotte's Web

6:30 - 7:00 - Susan Burkhart reading from The Giver

7:00 - 7:30 - Melanie Maxwell reading from The Great Gatsby

If you visit the booth, you will also have a chance to win a ÒWhat do you geekÓ T-shirt, a book or another prize.

Since 1990, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges, including 513 in 2008. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About three out of four of all challenges are to materials in schools or school libraries, and one in four are to materials in public libraries. OIF estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded.

It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and reading materials like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Slaughterhouse Five,  the Harry Potter series, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird,"  and  The Lord of the Rings remain available.

The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children.  However, challenges are not simply an expression of a point of view; on the contrary, they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best - their parents!

In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, the ALA and the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library are sponsoring Banned Books Week (September 24 – October 1), an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. This year's observance commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society - the freedom to read freely - and encourages us not to take this freedom for granted.

Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. The Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library and thousands of libraries and bookstores across the country will celebrate the freedom to read by participating in special events, exhibits, and read-outs that showcase books that have been banned or threatened. In addition to the READ OUT being held on Saturday, the library will continue the celebration throughout the week with a display of challenged and/or banned books and other informational material. You can stop in to browse the display and win a free book.

American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read at your library! Read an old favorite or a new banned book this week. We geek the freedom to read!

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