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(c) by Mary Griggs

Here it is the end of the Banned Books Week and I’ve not ranted about it. I bet y’all thought you were lucky to escape. Not so fast, grasshopper, I’ve still got something to say.

First, the statistics: in 2006, there were 546 known attempts to remove books from libraries. School libraries accounted for most of the reported book challenges (71 percent). Public libraries saw the second most challenges (24 percent).

The single most frequently challenged book was the children’s picture book “And Tango Makes Three,” about two male penguins who brood and hatch an egg and begin raising their baby penguin.

It drew objections for homosexuality, anti-family content and unsuitability for age group. You know what the upshot is? It is a true story! Which just go to show you that nature appears to have a broader understanding of “family” than the religious right.

We have no idea how very fortunate we are that not all the challenges to library books are successful. Librarians are a thin blue line of protection for the First Amendment. They work diligently to keep books on the shelves and available for readers.

Our ability to read what we want when we want is at stake here. The free exchange of ideas is crucial to the continual advancement of the human race. Okay, that sounds a bit pompous but it’s true.

Many people don’t seem to grasp how important it is. They think that if they and their children use the library and their taxes help pay for the book, they should be able to determine what books the library carries. They ignore the fact that other people might want to read the books they object to and that their taxes also help pay for the books.

Go read something! If nothing else, it might just piss somebody off.

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