It’s Freedom to Read Week in Canada so I thought I’d issue one of my regular reminders about how lucky we are to be in a place at a time when art is freely made and consumed. We are very, very lucky so it is important that we:
1) Make and consumer art (paint something, read something);
2) Protest if this right is challenged (get John Green to send thousands of books to towns where the school has banned a particular title);
3) Do what we can to secure this right for others (suggestions?).
One of my favorite resources for banned and challenged books is an exhibition that was mounted by Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library a few years ago. They feature items from the exhibition every year on their website during Freedom to Read Week or Banned Books Week. If you want the short and dirty back story on famous challenged books from the last 500 years, dig up the exhibition catalogue which is available via Amazon or in larger academic libraries. If you require more than the quick and dirty story, check out Forbidden Fruit: Banned, Censored, and Challenged Books from Dante to Harry Potter, by the exhibition’s curator.
If you need a reminder about why we need a Freedom to Read Week, look no further than today’s news that that Islamic State radicals burned the Mosul Public Library in Iraq. The library housed thousands of rare books and manuscripts that documented the cultural, scientific and military history of region.