This week, take time to celebrate your freedom to read any book you want, to access any website, to read news from around the world without a filter and to learn about any subject you want in the privacy of your own mind, without fear.

The last week in September is when the library community makes a special effort to acknowledge and celebrate the freedom to read. Banned Books Week is a time to celebrate our First Amendment right to access information of all kinds. While some people feel that they are protecting people by challenging books, it is misguided, and we call it censorship. The Supreme Court has held time after time that access to information is a right.

The Maine Library Association calls on everyone, across all political positions, to consider exalting access above fear, to celebrate one of the things that truly makes our country great: our right to access information free from government-sanctioned censorship. Access to information is one of our fundamental, constitutional rights, and across the state, we’re working hard to ensure everyone’s First Amendment right is reaffirmed.

Librarians believe we all deserve access to a wide range of information – indeed, we will fight to keep all books on the shelves, upholding all points of view. “Irreversible Damage” can have a place on library shelves the same as “Gender Queer” deserves one. Let’s let people make their own reading decisions for themselves and their own families – not for anyone else – this week and every week.

Samantha Duckworth
chair, Intellectual Freedom Committee, Maine Library Association

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