From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian

(It’s been a busy week with several appointments so I’m recycling last year’s Banned Books Week post with a few revisions. Next week will be something new—I promise!)

“Yes, books are dangerous. They should be dangerous – they contain ideas.”—Pete Hautman.

Banned Books Week, the annual commemoration of the freedom to read, began last Sunday. It’s a cause close to the hearts of librarians because we’re all about getting books into the hands of people of all ages, not denying them the opportunity to learn, enjoy, and get lost in the pages of books.

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”— Voltaire

Do I agree with all the books on the library shelves? Of course not, but I don’t plan to read them all. I choose what I want to read, whether it’s for information or pleasure and the books are there for you to do the same. That’s the great thing about public libraries—they are for everyone! The best advice for a librarian putting together a collection of books comes from Jo Godwin, who said, “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.”

“Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” ― Isaac Asimov

The best way to get someone to read a book is to tell people they shouldn’t. Often times publicly challenging a book is the best way to create interest in it.

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” — Joseph Brodsky

I’ll be honest; I don’t understand people who say they don’t like to read. Don’t they want to get lost in another world, to imagine being inserted into a different place and time, to learn about others and expand their knowledge? Or to simply escape reality? I can’t imagine a life without books, which is why I’m passionate about making them available to everyone.

How can you celebrate Banned Books Week? Check out a book—any book!—of your choice. (We make no judgments on your selections). But most importantly, allow everyone the right to read the book of their choice. Don’t you want to join the banned?