Thursday, April 15, 2010

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands

This is National Library Week in the US, and Neil Gaiman is serving as the honorary chair.  Euan Kerr of Minnesota Public Radio interviewed the writer and self described "feral child of librarians" about his love of libraries. His thoughts on their importance warms the heart of this librarian, and will likely ring true to any lover of the printed word. He reiterates the point that the institution and its stewards are more relevant than ever, acting as trusted guides through the wilderness of digital information. They're also stalwart and hysterical defenders of freedom of speech, and the privacy rights of patrons.

Highlighting the issue of censorship, the American Library Association has released its list of the ten most frequently challenged books for 2009.  There are both new and classic titles on the list, and the most frequently cited reasons for requesting their removal from shelves are offensive language, sexual content, or religious viewpoint.  “Protecting one of our most fundamental rights – the freedom to read – means respecting each other’s differences and the right of all people to choose for themselves what they and their families read.”

I recommend exercising your rights, and picking up a copy of a challenged book.  Or you can join One Book, One Twitter, a "big read" project that aims to use the power of social media for good, and get people reading and talking about the same book this summer.  Vote for your favorite from Wired's list of ten candidates.

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