Traditional book burning and eBooks

photo by April Sikorski via WikiCommons

To a totalitarian censor there is nothing more satisfying than a good, old-fashioned book burning.  Putting a match to paper and starting a literary funeral pyre with the acrid smoke billowing towards the heavens is a true delight to the bibliophobe.  But how the times have changed with the advent of the electronic reading age.  Kindles, Nooks and iPads have made life miserable for the traditional book burner.  The fact is that hitting a delete button is not very satisfying.  Deleting hundreds and thousands of words in a second is fleeting enjoyment, nowhere near as fulfilling as watching piles of books slowly ash away.  I truly feel for the poor bibliophobe and totalitarian censor.  One can only hope that they can find a more productive outlet for their mania.

Happy National Library Week 2011!

I always forget that technically the start of the week is Sunday.  To me, Sunday marks the end of the week, because I have to be back at work on Monday.  In my head, if I have to work on Monday, it’s the start of the week, not Day Two.   The reason for this rant is to make you aware of National Library Week 2011, which runs from Sunday, yes Sunday, April 10 to Saturday, April 16th.  In America National Library Week is promoted by the American Library Association, an organization I feel quite strongly about.  The ALA is often embroiled in politics as it pertains to censorship.  The ALA is very much pro-1st Amendment and against censorship, which is understandable.  In fact, the ALA also sponsors Banned Books Week, which runs from September 24 to October 1st this year.

Photograph of three of Nevins Memorial Library's earliest librarians

The ALA’s stance on censorship pretty much echoes my own:  If you don’t like it, don’t read it.  If something offends you, then avoid it and don’t introduce your kids to it, but don’t ban it (unless it’s illegal).  You see,  self-control and self-censorship works best.  I think the Golden Rule and Common Sense applies.  That book that you like, perhaps the Bible, no doubt offends other people of another religious faith, how would you like it if somebody wanted to ban that?

The fact of the matter is that a public library, yes PUBLIC library, contains, and should contain, a myriad of books on a variety of subjects ─ some of which offends; some of which engages your critical thinking; and some that tickles your fancy.  If libraries were to ban books that people found questionable, eventually there would be no books left, because there’s always somebody who is offended by something, or dislikes a particular book or subject.  I applaud the librarians who stand up for the 1st Amendment and recognize that differing opinions are not always a bad thing…

Support your local public library!