5.6.2022 – your freedom to read

your freedom to read
to determine what you read
independently

Where to start?

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step but where to begin?

Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hammerstein said that we should, “Start at the Very Beginning, a Very Good Place to Start.”

The Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 NIV)

That’s where it starts.

In the beginning was the word.

The word comes to us in a book.

That is where is starts.

A Book.

Books are there from the beginning.

Books are at the core.

For me, books are the answer.

For some, books are the problem.

And that shakes me to the core.

Book burning and it’s little brother, book banning, are for me, black and white, wrong vs. right.

Mr. Lincoln’s “eternal struggle between right and wrong” would embody books in my book.

The Nashville Public Library is working to raise awareness of recent book banning efforts by issuing a library card that proclaims, “I READ BANNED BOOKS.”

The press release from the NPL quotes Director Kent Oliver, saying, “I want Nashvillians to know: Nashville Public Library will always respect your Freedom to Read – to independently determine what you read, and don’t read, and to exercise your role in determining what your children read.

While I would have been happier had Mr. Kent not split an infinitive ( and I think to determine, independently, is more effective), I am very happy that the NPL is taking a stand and I would be happy to get the bright yellow card.

But the press release that the NPL was also one of the scariest and saddest statements that I have read recently.

Making the point for public support against book banning, the Nashville Public Library pointed out that:

Since the American Library Association began tracking challenges against books in the 1980s, the organization has recorded thousands of challenges made in cities across the U.S.

In contrast, 71% of readers oppose efforts to remove books from their local public libraries, according to an ALA survey of 1,000 voters and 472 parents of public-school children.

In contrast, 71% of readers oppose efforts to remove books from their local public libraries.

71% of readers oppose efforts to remove books from their local public libraries.

29% of readers did not express that they were opposed to efforts to remove books from their local public libraries.

I am reminded of the book, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

The title is based on the thought that 451 degress (F) is the temperature at which book paper catches fire, and burns.

If you are not familiar with the book, it describes society where ‘fireman’ search out and burn books.

And why?

It was felt that books and learning in general created inequality and unhappiness, and so books were banned and burned.

In the book, in a speech about why firemen burn books, Bradbury reveals that it was the people that originally decided that the books should be removed.

Who needed the problems caused by books?

For myself, that 29% of people who identify themselves as readers in a poll, did not express that they were opposed to efforts to remove books from their local public libraries … well … beyond the words that I have available to me.

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