Banned book week is here

Published 11:06 pm Friday, September 25, 2009

“Beloved.” “The Chocolate War.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird.” “Charlotte’s Web.” “The Sun Also Rises.” “As I Lay Dying.” “Kim.” “Winnie-the-Pooh.”

If you or your children or grandchildren have read any of the books listed above, you and others have read a banned book.

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Today begins National Banned Book Week. It is a celebration of going into a library and picking up books off the shelves and reading them.

Yet, there are some people who would rather you and other people in the world didn’t have the opportunity to read some of these books.

These people who seek to ban books from libraries aren’t fascist ogres. They usually challenge books or asked the library to ban them with the best intentions in mind: to protect others, especially children, from difficult ideas and information.

No matter how well intentioned, the effort to remove books from libraries — public and school libraries — is wrong.

No person or group of people who have personal problems with a set of ideas should tell other people what they can or cannot read.

Or as the linguist Noam Chomsky has said, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”