Libraries throughout the nation will observe “Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read” from September 26 – October 3. Each year, librarians, booksellers, teachers and countless others take this opportunity to highlight the importance of intellectual freedom and remind everyone not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.
The Whatcom County Library Foundation, founded on the principle of intellectual freedom, will hold “Rock & Read” events at all Whatcom County Libraries during Banned Books Week. Foundation members will read and display books that have been “challenged”- asked to be removed from the shelves of school or public libraries. In addition, the Foundation will be fundraising with their “Get Challenged” 16 month calendar with images of challenged books.
Observed since 1982, BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion – even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.
It stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where the freedom to express oneself and the freedom to choose what opinions and viewpoints to consume are both met.
Aubri Keleman, Teen Services librarian at the Whatcom County Library System, takes a balanced viewpoint of this week. “Freedom to Read week is not about one political agenda – it’s about all of them,” said Keleman. “It’s not about saying ‘you should read this,’ it’s about saying that at the public library we trust you to decide.”
To find the date of the Rock & Read event at your local WCLS library, and for more information about the Whatcom County Library Foundation and Banned Books Week, go to the library’s website: www.wcls.org
. Click on Foundation.