The best way to celebrate your freedom to read and engage in a fruitful search for information is to use your public library. The public library system is the great social equalizer of information. It provides information services, internet access and print material to every segment of the population. Every creed, culture, race and socio-economic stratum is allowed to and encouraged to use these services. They are open to all. But many people and groups want to make a judgment call on what is or is not appropriate.
Each day, all across the country, one of our most basic freedoms — the right to read — is in danger. In communities large and small, censorship attempts every year threaten to undermine our freedom to read. Without our constant support, the First Amendment freedoms that we so often take for granted — the right to read, explore ideas, and express ourselves freely — are at risk.
The First Amendment guarantees that each of us has the right to express our views, including opinions about particular books. At the same time, the First Amendment also ensures that none of us has the right to control or limit another person’s ability to read or access information. Yet, when individuals or groups fi le formal written requests demanding that libraries and schools remove specifi c books from the shelves, they are doing just that — attempting to restrict the rights of other individuals to access those books.
I am a firm believer in open access to printed and digital material, whether or not I consider it offensive is besides the point. I make the conscious choice to not read things as well as to read them and I respect people enough to want to give everyone that same choice. I can think of one title that I cringe whenever I walk by it (pssst…It’s “You can lead an atheist to evidence but you can’t make him think” by Ray Comfort and Mr. Comfort’s “abridged” edition of “The Origin of Species” … *shudder* … and you can read more about it here) but I would never want it “challenged” and then removed.
So to celebrate please choose a banned book from the attached pdf (or any book for that matter) from the American Library Association and request it at your local public library.
My choice was League of Extraodinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier but then again, I am a comics fan.