Banned Books Week, an annual campaign that celebrates free speech and draws attentions to banned and challenged books worldwide, is one of our favorite times of the year. While the physical, printed book has one foot in the grave due in part to Amazon.com, audiobooks and e-readers, the intellectual property inside many of these legendary books will continue to have a lasting impression.
This year the American Library Association reminds us that intellectual property and freedom lives on virtually and has taken their campaign to the new frontier of social media. Supporters can participate in discussions on free expression on its Facebook page and Twitter hashtag #BannedBooksWeek, as well as find offline discussion groups at local bookstores and libraries.
People can also go to the campaign’s YouTube channel to not only view videos by people around the United States reading controversial books, but they can also either submit their own video of up to two minutes or a description of a local book challenge of up to three minutes. Supporters can also go to Flickr to view and/or upload photos expressing their thoughts on this awareness week.
But the coolest part of the campaign is a Google Map that shows censorship attempts around the country in the last four years. If the map is any indication, the United States still has a long way to go on protecting the First Amendment.
A Montana library director @bmmsben pointed out the famous Mark Twain quote on Twitter “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”