As part of this year’s Banned Book Week Celebration, we are answering questions posed by the American Library Association.
I grew up watching my parents read whenever they could, and they always encouraged me to read as well. Occasionally, they would buy me a new book as a treat. But I think I amused and frustrated them when I when read it cover to cover in an afternoon! As a favor to their own wallets, they started bringing me to the library and this changed my world.
When my parents let me loose in the library is when I really started to understand more about the privilege of having free access to books. My young preteen self would wander among the stacks and stacks of books in my little town library in Upstate New York and feel amazed. So many books! And I could take them out and read them! One fall day, I saw that the librarians had put up a display about what I would come to realize were banned books. Banned Books? I didn’t quite understand what that meant. I asked the librarian what that meant, and I couldn’t believe when she told me that someone somewhere decided that for whatever reason, the books on the display shouldn’t be available to everyone! I looked again at the books on the display and saw The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. And you know what I did? I took them home and read them. Because I could.
So thank you to my parents for encouraging me to read for fun, and to the librarians at Liverpool Public Library in New York for helping me understand my right to read.
∼ Sarah, NL Head of Readers’ Services