Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Book Week

Just in case you forgot or didn't know, Banned Book Week takes place this year from Sept. 26 to October 23.
This from the American Library Association (ALA): "Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
"Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them."
While most libraries are pretty good at standing up for books that have been banned or could be banned, can the same be said of book sellers?
I think not.
While I would not want to see any book seller forced to stock all books, I do want to point out how books can be and often are banned without there being any fanfair over it. I have had some booksellers tell me, "Your books are not appropriate for our readers." When this happens, the books are not even given the chance to be banned.
I wish only to point out how many books are banned without even given the chance of getting free publicity by being officially banned.
My view is simple. Every reader has the right to read or not read a book. But things become difficult when the reader isn't allowed to decide what they want to read or not read because they don't know what they could decide upon because some bookseller has made the choice for them.

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