Raleigh County Public Library celebrates Banned Book Week
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - September 18 through September 24 is Banned Book Week, a celebration of the freedom to read prompted by the American Library Association (ALA). This year’s theme is, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”
ALA is the both oldest and largest library association in the world. They work to promote literacy and the right to read whatever you want.
Amy Stover is the Director of the Raleigh County Public Library, and she agrees.
“It’s important that we have a wide and diverse collection so that someone can find something that they are interested in here in the library and we try to do it year round but we take this week to highlight a selection of things that other communities may not have.”
The ALA says just last year, nearly 1600 books nationwide had what they describe as “individual book challenges or removals.” They say these attempts can divide readers and create barriers.
“Banning doesn’t mean it’s pulled everywhere worldwide,” Stover explained. “It just means someone somewhere in the world has challenged it, and we might think it’s a silly challenge or a serious challenge. That’s not for us to decide. It’s just about saying here in West Virginia, we believe that Mountaineers are always free, and if we’re always free, we are free to read.”
And while this week advocates for choice across the United States, those at the Raleigh County Public Library say it’s something they encourage year-round.
“When someone comes in and asks for a recommendation, it’s not what we read. It’s like, ‘What do you like to read?’ It’s not about us; it’s about you, so it’s always about the freedom to read.”
ALA reports state that public libraries and school libraries are where the most book challenges take place. They also say that librarians are currently facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books.
Books are challenged to protect others, from “difficult ideas and information.”
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