Relax AARP Bulletin Readers, Librarians Do Not Celebrate Book Banning

September 15, 2010


I was tickled to death when I opened my September issue of AARP Bulletin and saw a full-page article about Banned Books Week. That was before the e-mails and calls flooded into the Office for Intellectual Freedom, demanding to know what business the American Library Association had banning books.

Turns out the article, titled "Banned," says "the list of books banned by American schools and libraries includes many of the classics" and presents a recommended reading list "prepared to coincide with the American Library Association's Annual Banned Books Week, Sept. 25–Oct. 2." Granted, careful readers might understand that Banned Books Week is a celebration of the freedom to read, but technically the article didn't say so, and consequently, many people took it the wrong way.

But here's my idea of the upside of this unfortunate misunderstanding: If Bulletin readers think the ALA was encouraging book banning, they damn well should raise hell about it. So bravo to all who contacted ALA to blast us for such a totally un-American notion. Join us at the Chicago Banned Books Read-Out and at libraries across the country on September 25 as we celebrate intellectual freedom by reading books that somebody wants us not to.