Irk Sarah Palin, Read a Banned Book!
By now everyone knows that when Sarah Palin was the mayor of Wasilla she fired the city librarian. Palin said it was because she didn’t feel she had the full support of librarian Mary Emmons after she asked Emmons hypothetically how she would respond to censoring books if a patron parent had a complaint about a particular book. Emmons said censoring would not sit well with her.
The story has grown and now a list of books that Palin allegedly wants banned is traveling around the net through emails. Snopes.comalong with other media outlets have debunked the story. The list is indeed a list of books that people have tried to ban over the years they aren’t necessarily the books that Palin may have been gunning for.
Which is why I think it’s somewhat fortuitous that McCain picked Palin as his running mate. Palin helps bring to forefront an argument that has been brewing for a while now. Over the last few years we have been too afraid to give our rights any thoughts although this is the perfect time for us to assert them and hold them dear.
Banned Book Week has been observed since 1982 as a reminder for Americans to not take their democratic freedom for granted. On the ALA website they write:
Banned Books Week (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. As the Intellectual Freedom Manual (ALA, 7th edition) states:
“Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate; and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of the work, and the viewpoints of both the author and receiver of information. Freedom to express oneself through a chosen mode of communication, including the Internet, becomes virtually meaningless if access to that information is not protected. Intellectual freedom implies a circle, and that circle is broken if either freedom of expression or access to ideas is stifled.”
BBW begins tomorrow (Sept 27) and ends October 4. Around the country many public libraries and bookstores will be celebrating the freedom to read what one wants by having different programs and showcasing books that others want to get rid of. To find out what is going on in your community please contact your local library or bookseller. If a celebration isn’t going on please visit the American Libraries Association or Banned Books Week.org to get ideas on how to fight censorship in your community.