I had these elaborate dreams of posting something about banned books every day during Banned Books Week. And, well, the week ends Saturday and I haven’t been able to do it. I got swamped at work last week and will still be digging out week after next, so my plans to post something during lunch didn’t work ’cause I didn’t really have a break for lunch and I’ve been too exhausted when I get home to stay up and post something and my mind has been occupied with 40,000 other things. Excuses, excuses.
One of my posts was going to be about all the great slogans fellow library students–one second-year student when I started in particular–had on buttons and t-shirts and whatnot that celebrated intellectual freedom. “There’s something in my library to offend everyone” was probably my favorite. The wearer planned to be a public librarian and I could see her being a very good one.
Another post was going to be about how when I was a sophomore in high school, one of the parents of a student in my English class called the teacher–who was a totally awesome high school English teacher–to protest some of the books we were reading for class. She thought if we read “In Cold Blood,” we’d all either turn into murderers or become really paranoid. The other book she didn’t like was “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” which my Dad read to me when I was much, much younger. (I heard about this from the parent. The teacher was kind enough not to mention it in class.) I was angry at the parent because I thought her complaints held no merit. Reflecting on what I knew and what I had already experienced by the time I was a sophomore, preventing me from reading “In Cold Blood” wasn’t going to protect me from anything I hadn’t already learned about. If nothing else, it gave us a way to approach the question “Why do people do the things they do?” And objections to Huckleberry Finn? Let’s just not have that discussion tonight …
Anyway…please continue to celebrate intellectual freedom throughout the year. Free people read freely.