FREEdom to Read

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The American Libraries Association has designated September 26-October 3, 2009 as Banned Books Week. The annual celebration is designed to celebrate and show support for intellectual freedom, the First Amendment, and free and open access to information.

The University of Louisville’s Libraries celebrates each year with a read-in. Several UofL students and librarians will read samples from popular pieces of fiction as well as banned and challenged classics from a list of top 100 novels of the 20th Century. Some of my favorite authors are among them - Vonnegut, Tolkien, and Faulkner.

This year I read The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss (1984), a clever satire about the nuclear arms race that was removed from the children’s collection of several school and public libraries because of its anti-war message. I recently checked out a copy of Thomas Paine’s writings from the Louisville Free Public Library. The collection includes Common Sense (1776) and Rights of Man (1791), both of which were challenged because of their subversive messages.