Rock Island, IL: The importance of the freedom to read widely will be on stage Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the Rock Island Public Library during a Banned Books Week Reading.

The event at the Downtown Library, 401 19th Street, starts with refreshments and social time at 5:30 pm, followed by guest readings of banned or challenged works from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Guests can also sign up for giveaways of Banned Books Week t-shirts, buttons, and mugs, to show their support for intellectual freedom year round. With the reading, Rock Island Library and the Midwest Writing Center unite with the American Library Association in shared support of the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 24-30.

The theme, “Words Have Power. Read a Banned Book,” recognizes that books have the power to connect readers to literary communities and diverse perspectives."When books are challenged or banned, it closes the book on the freedom to read," said Angela Campbell, Rock Island Public Library director." Our Banned Books Week reading celebrates the written word, and our right as Americans to choose what we read, or don't read."

While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. The Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association reported 323 challenges in 2016, with about 10 percent resulting in removal of the book. Five of the 10 titles on the Top Ten list were removed from the location where the challenge took place.

The Banned Books Reading is free and open to the public. Some readings may not be suitable for very young patrons or more sensitive readers.

For more information about Rock Island Library hours, services and programs, visit the library's online branch at www.rockislandlibrary.org, call 309-732-READ, or follow the library on Facebook or Twitter.

Banned Books Week is presented annually in the final week of September by the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association and other partners who focus on the value of free and open access to information.

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

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Resources and Background:

Top 10 Challenged or Banned Books, resources and graphics: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/NLW-Top10

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/freedownloads

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, Sept. 24 - 30.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. Typically held during the last week of September, the week highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.