'Banned Books Week' celebrates freedom to read

Sep 28, 2015 7:18 PM by Charlene Cheng

Harry Potter, a Clockwork Orange, and the Holy Bible...

All of these books are wildly popular and beloved by readers, but at some point, they've all been banned for various reasons.

"The language, obscenity found in novels, or it could be violence. An idea that someone is opposed to and they don't want others to read about it," explained Elizabeth Kelley, Adult Services Manager for Shasta Public Libraries.

Since 1982, Banned Books Week has been celebrated annually during the last week of September.

"Many people think that here in the United States, we do not censor books and that is not true. This is a time for all readers, book lovers, to band together and celebrate the freedom to read," Kelley said.

That censorship still happens despite the efforts of librarians nationwide, and the rise of electronic devices.

"Not everyone has access to digital books, particularly in our community," Kelley said.

And the base issue is as relevant as ever.

In 2014, there were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom.

"The core value of not censoring is important, even if we can access whatever we want in a digital book," Kelley said.

Librarians want readers to know that taking a stance against banning books means taking a stance for First Amendment rights.

"We're not saying go out and read everything, but what we're giving you is a choice for you to choose what you want to read," Kelley said.

Shasta Public Libraries is hosting a contest to encourage readers to show their support.

To enter, you're asked to visit the Redding Library and take a selfie with the "I Stand With the Banned" display. You can either add it to the comments on the post on the Shasta Public Libraries Facebook page, or share it on their Instagram (@shastapubliclibraries). Don't forget to use the hashtags ?#‎IStandwiththeBanned? and ?#‎shastapubliclibraries? for both.

One winner from each social media site will receive a Barnes & Noble gift card.


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