Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 94/365 No More Banned Books

Next time you check Harry Potter out of your local library, say a quiet Thank You to this lovely lady.

This is Judith Krug, a one-woman crusade to stop censorship in public libraries. As Director of the American Library Assn.'s Office for Intellectual Freedom since it was founded in 1967, Krug started Banned Books Week in 1982 to promote the right to read stories and express opinions without interference from censors.

Censors in this case refers to all of those who feel the need to monitor what the rest of us read, and what reading material should be available in public libraries.

Ms. Krug died last Saturday in Evanston Illinois. She was passionate about the 1st Amendment (that would be Freedom of Speech), and felt if a book was legally published, it should be made available in any library.

Each year, the library association puts out a list of books most often targeted by censors. Perennial favorites include "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain and works by writer Judy Blume. In the last few years, the "Harry Potter" books have made the list because they deal with witchcraft and magic.

Our deepest sympathies to the family, and our deepest thanks and appreciation for Judith Krug's lifelong guardianship of our 1st Amendment rights.

And as for censorship:

"If your library is not 'unsafe', it probably isn't doing its job."-- John Berry, Library Journal, October 1999

"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "-- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)

"Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people's idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage." -- Winston Churchill

"Fear of corrupting the mind of the younger generation is the loftiest form of cowardice."-- Holbrook Jackson

"One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present."-- Golda Meir, Israeli political leader (1898-1978)

"Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot."-- Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, American playwright (1888-1953)

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