Have Fun Storming the Library!

I read banned books

You can buy these buttons at: http://www.asja.org/about/store/#banned-books

One of the most common tactics non-profits have to draw attention to their cause is to declare a day, a week, a month. For example, October is well known to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You may even know that it’s also Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. According to this governmental website, the month represents 11 different causes including SIDS, Eye Injury Prevention, Down’s Syndrome, Physical Therapy, Medical Librarians, and more. And that doesn’t even count the more than a dozen other special weeks and days, such as Drive Safely Work Week, Walk to School Day, Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Food Day, Psoriasis Day and International Stuttering Awareness Day.

And let’s face it, (almost) all of these causes are important. There are any number of reasons why they should be recognized. But at some point, we may have to consider that we’re asking an awful lot of of October, especially considering we haven’t even gotten to Halloween yet.

And October has it easy compared to May, which has no fewer than 17 month descriptions (including National Mediterranean Diet Month, Ultraviolet Awareness Month and my personal favorite, National Toxic Encephalopathy and Chemical Injury Awareness Month), 10 weeks and 10 days devoted to a wide swath of other worthy causes.

But when I learned that this week is “Banned books week,” well, I could hardly wait to sound the bugles. As an avid reader, the prospect of books being actually banned breaks my heart, no matter how inappropriate the subject.

I have pretty strong feelings about censorship and the First Amendment, so the idea of silencing someone’s ideas just because they disagree with you is repugnant to me.

And the best way to combat banned books? Buy more of them. Buy them for others. Make sure that they’re available to everyone. Which brings me to this story from Wil Wheaton about school libraries in desperate need of age-appropriate books. The great part of this – by the time I saw this and clicked “buy a book,” all 161 books had already been purchased for the school highlighted. But there are so many others. Check out http://filltheshelves.org/, which helps schools in need. To date, two of the three schools featured have had their wish lists fulfilled. Let’s make it three for three, shall we?

As an aside, I am, however, disappointed that one of the books requested was “The Egyptian Cinderella.” I bought that book for K on the recommendation of a local bookseller, and I have to say that I was horribly disappointed in it. Props for a multi-cultural take, but major negative points for continuing the tradition of the weak-willed female who needs to be rescued.

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