Banned Books Week Heroes Unveiled during Virtual Read-out

ASJA was among the founders of Banned Books Week when it was first launched back in 1982. In the years since, ASJA's First Amendment Committee has worked to continue to defend the right to read. Currently, with Sally Olds as our representative, we are part of the Planning Committee for the nation-wide celebrations of Banned Books Week. The following press release will bring you up-to-date on our activities.

CHICAGO – Readers from across the United States and around the world will demonstrate their support for free speech by participating in a Virtual Read-Out of banned and challenged books during Banned Books Week, Sept. 22 – 28, 2013, a time when the nation celebrates the freedom to read and the American Library Association (ALA) brings attention to the censorship of books in schools and libraries.

The Virtual Read-Out is the digital centerpiece of Banned Books Week, featuring individuals reading from their favorite banned or challenged book. Participants, libraries and bookstores will upload videos at tinyurl.com/bbwvro13 for posting to the Banned Books Week YouTube Channel. Contributors are encouraged to share a reading, discuss the significance of their favorite banned book, or mention a local book challenge.

The event will serve as the backdrop for the announcement of Banned Books Week Heroes. It takes courage to stand up for intellectual freedom, and Banned Books Week sponsors have identified outstanding individuals and groups who have stood up to defend their freedom to read. More than 1,500 videos have been submitted since the read-out began in 2011, including many by bestselling authors. Sherman Alexie ("Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian"), Laurie Halse Anderson ("Speak"), and Kahled Housseni ("The Kite Runner") are among those contributing new videos. Bookstores and libraries across the country are already participating in the Virtual Read-Out. Bookmans Bookstore (Ariz.) produced the video "Bookmans Does Banned Books" and Mooresville (Ind.) Public Library produced two promotional trailers. The videos may be seen at bannedbooksweek.org

For the first time this year, Twitter parties will help promote the message of Banned Books Week. A party will be held on Monday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon, Eastern Time; a second party is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 25, from noon to 2 p.m., Eastern. Supporters are urged to tweet using the hashtag #bannedbooksweek. More information about the Twitter parties is available on the Banned Books Week website, bannedbooksweek.org

Banned Books Week is sponsored by ALA, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Association of College Stores, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, and Project Censored. The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress has endorsed Banned Books Week.

For more information on Banned Books Week, book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom's Banned Books Web site at www.ala.org/bbooks, or bannedbooksweek.org.

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