Every year libraries, booksellers, and teachers all across the country mark the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, seven days in which books that have been challenged or outright banned throughout American history are given prominent place, and the right to read and access information according to one's own conscience is celebrated.
The idea behind the celebration is a serious one: to highlight the dangers of censorship. More than 11,000 books have been challenged in school and public libraries in the past thirty years alone, including some of our most beloved literature, from Harry Potter to Huckleberry Finn, from To Kill a Mockingbird to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
In most cases, the effort to remove these books from library shelves has failed, due to the hard work and advocacy of librarians, teachers, students, and readers who have taken a stand for the fundamental freedoms granted in the First Amendment.
To mark Banned Books Week 2014, Oak Park Public Library will once again be hosting a performance by City Lit Theater Company, Books on the Chopping Block, in which excerpts of some of America's most frequently banned books are given staged adaptations. City Lit tours several area libraries with an updated show every fall.
"We are privileged to continue our alliance with the [American Library Association] in this important work," says Terry McCabe, Artistic Director at City Lit. "Our focus is literate theater, so we are naturally concerned by attempts to keep books away from people." McCabe stresses the threat censorship poses to the functioning of an educated democracy, and that this threat is equally true not just for books, but for all aspects of the 21st century information economy.
Books on the Chopping Block will be performed on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 7 pm in the Veterans Room of the library, 834 Lake St. For more information, go to http://oppl.org/events/banned-books-week-books-chopping-block
Answer Book 2019
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