Banned Books Week: Censorship is a Dead End

In 1960, John F. Kennedy said, “If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors.”

In this same spirit, Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read and explore ideas that are foreign or uncomfortable to us, and of the freedom from censorship. This year the campaign runs from September 27-October 3, and the week’s theme is “Censorship is a Dead End.” Censorship leaves us in the dark on issues and ideas that are part of our world and therefore need to be part of our cultural conversation. This year’s theme highlights how shutting down discussion or taking away the freedom to explore ideas leaves us all nowhere.

Having the freedom to explore and discuss ideas is particularly important for teens. Teen Services Manager Amy Taylor explains, “People often begin actively searching for information in their teenage years, and figuring out who they are and who they want to be. So it make sense that during this stage teens are especially curious about issues of free speech, free access to information, and censorship.”

To celebrate this year’s Banned Books Week, teens ages 12-18 are invited to our Teen Book Club on Tuesday, September 29 at 6 p.m. The group will discuss The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky over Zoom, and the conversation will be followed by a trivia game about banned books. Registration is required and can be completed here.

Email Amy Taylor or call (423) 434-4349 for more information about Teen Book Club and Banned Books Trivia. Visit our online calendar, and follow Johnson City Public Library on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on our teen programs and services.

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