“You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone!”

The refrain from Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi may echo in your head when you realize that this is “Banned Books Week.” Sponsored by several organizations including the American Library Association and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the week serves to draw attention to intellectual freedom and efforts that challenge freedom of expression. The library display screen has some interesting statistics on the numbers of book bannings and challenges to those bannings in the U.S. over the past decade. While the mass burning of books as in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is not a reality in this country, in many communities strong efforts are made to restrict what children and even older individuals may find on bookshelves. Banned Books Week is a reminder that we must remain vigilant in our support of unfettered access to information.

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