Banned Books Week Video Presentation

To celebrate Banned Books Week, on Wednesday, September 21st at 6pm, the Mason County District Library will present a recorded presentation by Library Law Consultant, Clare Membiela, as she examines the role of public libraries in supporting and upholding the First Amendment. Banned Books Week (September 18 – 24, 2022) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read.

The recorded presentation will be shown live in the Rotary Room of the Ludington Library and also broadcast to a virtual audience through the following link: bit.ly/mcdl_free_speech. Clare’s presentation was a part of the Shifting Landscapes lecture series, a collaboration between the Mason County District Library and the Abondia Center, held over the winter of 2021-2022.

Public libraries have existed in the colonial “New World” since the early 1710s. Libraries have defended the right of every person to read what they want without restriction. The United States Constitution guarantees all individuals the right to express their ideas without governmental interference, and to read and listen to the ideas of others. First amendment constitutionalists, including the Supreme Court, have upheld the role of public libraries to ensure freedom of speech and expression as well as freedom to learn.

As the Library of Michigan itself states, freedom of speech is “not only about outward expression but also knowledge and expression consumed.”

Recently libraries, even in Michigan, have been questioned about their commitment to “unbiased, non-partisan forums where all patrons should have the right to read what they wish without fear of retribution or censure.”

Eight months into 2022, the number of attempts to ban or restrict library resources in schools, universities, and public libraries, is on track to exceed record counts from 2021, according to preliminary data released today by the American Library Association (ALA). Between January 1 and August 31, 2022, ALA documented 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources, and 1,651 unique titles were targeted. In 2021, ALA reported 729 attempts to censor library resources, targeting 1,597 books, which represented the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling these lists more than 20 years ago.

September is also Library Card Sign Up month. Everyone that signs up for a new card or checks out a book will be entered in a drawing to win various prizes, including gift cards to local businesses. Read freely with a library card!

Lisa Dains

Website administrator, social media manager, ebook and digital device helper.