Freedom to read

To the editor:

What would you do if you went to the library to check out a book, only to find it wasn’t there – not because it was already checked out, but because someone else disapproved of its content and had it removed from library shelves?

Banned Books Week, Sept. 22 to 28, stresses the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone’s freedom to read any book, no matter how unorthodox or unpopular.

Despite the perception that censorship no longer occurs in the United States, attempts to ban books frequently take place. According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, there were 464 reported attempts to remove or restrict materials from schools and libraries in 2012 and more than 17,700 attempts since 1990, when the ALA began to record book challenges.

“The ability to read, speak, think and express ourselves freely is a fundamental freedom that sustains and upholds our democratic society,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling. “Banned Books Week serves as an opportunity to remind all of us that the freedom to choose books for ourselves and our family is a right, not a privilege.”

Many bookstores, schools and libraries celebrating Banned Books Week will showcase selections from the ALA OIF’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2012. The list is released each spring and provides a snapshot of book removal attempts in the U.S. The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2012 reflects a range of themes and consists of the following titles:

1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey

2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie

3. “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James

5. “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

6. “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini

7. “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green

8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz

9. “The Glass Castle,” by Jeanette Walls

10. “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison.

Celebrate your freedom to read! Come to the library, and check out your favorite book, or come to the library, look through our stacks, and check out a new favorite.

See you at the library,

Pete Benson, director

Saranac Lake Free Library

Saranac Lake