In recognition of Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of Americans’ right to access books without censorship, a number of Charleston-based organizations will join to commemorate the most basic freedom in a democratic society—the right to read freely.
On Monday, September 22, 6 p.m., some of the area’s leading writers and artists will read from their favorite books that have been challenged. Among them are Marcus Amaker, Herb Frazier, Sharon Graci, Bret Lott, Theodore Rosengarten, Joy Vandervort-Cobb, Marjory Wentworth, and Katherine Williams. The event will take place at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (161 Calhoun Street) at the College of Charleston. The event is free.
The “Charleston Read-Out” is sponsored by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Charleston Friends of the Library, the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, the Jazz Artists of Charleston, with assistance by the Freedom to Read Foundation.
Since 1990 the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About three out of four of all challenges are to material in schools or school libraries, and one in four are to material in public libraries. OIF estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded. In some cases, classics like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” and “To Kill a Mocking Bird” may not be included in curricula or available in the school library due to challenges made by parents or administrators. For a list of frequently challenged books, please click here.
Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to, or view. Charleston’s Banned Books Week Collaborative and thousands of libraries and bookstores across the country will celebrate the freedom to read by participating in special events, exhibits, and read-outs that showcase books that have been banned or threatened. Other events have been scheduled for the week of September 21-27, 2014, at the College of Charleston, the Charleston County Public Library, and at area churches, including Circular Congregational.
Monday, September 22, 6 p.m.
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (161 Calhoun Street, Downtown Charleston)
Featuring writers and artists reading from their favorite banned books
Presenters to include: Marcus Amaker, Herb Frazier, Sharon Graci, Bret Lott, Theodore Rosengarten, Joy Vandervort-Cobb, Marjory Wentworth, and Katherine Williams.