Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).
BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
How to celebrate Banned Books Week? Suggestions from the American Library Association include:
- Stay Informed
- Organize a Banned Books Read-Out! at your library
- Exercise your rights- checkout and read a banned book
- Encourage your book club to read a favorite banned book
(My added suggestion is: Don't accept Sarah Palin trying to ban books.)
We only have true freedom of speech and freedom of the press when everyone has access. In the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, characterizing Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."