Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Banned Books

Having been in the book business for longer than I care to admit, I am very passionate about bringing awareness to the plight of the banned book. The last week in September, the American Library Association and the American Bookseller Association both participate in Banned Books Week. Libraries and bookstores are encouraged to set up displays, hold lectures and generally inform the reading public of the threat of censorship. This has become even more important in the wake of the PATRIOT act, as the government can now search library and bookstore records without informing potential suspects and librarians and booksellers are forbidden to divulge that they have been searched.
When I was in the bookstore, I faithfully set up a display every year, and also participated in a discussion group at the county library. The display was a hit. Many books would sell off of it, and it always garnered media attention. When I got to home office, I decided to see if we couldn't go chainwide with the display. We have, and have received nothing but good feedback from the field.
What surprises me is that when I talk to the average person, they have no idea that a) Books are still being banned and b) There is a week dedicated to it. This is frightening when the ALA releases a report that more books have been challenged or banned this year than last year. MORE, not less. In this era of panic and fright, literature, the cornerstone of knowledge and communication, is being removed from schools and libraries across the nation...

No comments: