Sunday, September 28, 2008

Appreciate Our Freedom To Read

This is Banned Books Week, observed since 1982 by the American Library Association as a time to remember we shouldn't take our precious democratic freedoms for granted. If you want to see what it's like for people who live without the freedom to speak their minds, publish their thoughts, and gather as equals in an open society, read some of my accounts of life in Africa in Heart of Diamonds.

The theme this year is "Celebrating the Freedom to Read." That right is particularly precious to me as a writer, a reader, and a library trustee. We have a marvelous collection of free libraries in America for which we should all be very grateful. the very existence of places where you can browse the stacks without someone looking over your shoulder, meet friends to discuss the issues of the day without interference, even explore the online world in all its wild glory helps to keep America free.

True freedom can only exist when people can express their opinions not matter how unpopular they may be. Libraries make sure those viewpoints are available to all.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

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