Reference Blog Entries

Freedom to read is as American as apple pie

Ann's picture

September 25 marks the beginning of Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association, teachers, and the entire book community to support the freedom to read.

Slice of apple pieYou might wonder, does anyone really try to censor what we can read? Yes! In the last decade, there have been more than 5000 “challenges” to remove material from the shelves of school and public libraries in the U.S. There have been 275 challenges over the past year.

Most challenges are well-intentioned–filed because content is perceived to be sexually explicit, offensive, or inappropriate for an intended audience. However, materials are also challenged for political or religious reasons. Even books that we consider to be part of the literary canon have been challenged!

Librarians are committed to intellectual freedom and access to information. We have a “special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.” Freedom to read is at the core of our democracy.

Celebrate Banned Books Week by visiting your library (in person or online) and finding something you are interested in learning about. Or check out any of the frequently challenged books below from Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century. Here are the top five:

September is Passport Awareness Month

Laura's picture

If you are planning a trip outside the country, you may want to consider getting your passport soon. The U. S. State Department is expecting that an unusually large number of people will request passports between now and 2018.Photo of US Passport, navy blue with gold lettering and insignia In January of this year the New York Times published an article warning of the coming upsurge, and explaining the reasons for it: passports are now expiring that were issued ten years ago, when travelling to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean first began to require a passport instead of just a driver's license. Spokespersons at the State Department are urging those who may need to apply for a passport to do it well in advance of their travel plans because the length of time needed for processing may increase significantly. Currently the average length of time it takes the State Department to process a passport is four to six weeks. 

If you are one of those people who will need to apply for a new passport read more by going to the links below:

Note: If your passport is valid but due to expire before you travel, you will only need to renew it. You can do that online; you do not need to go through a passport agent. 

Additional information for travelers outside the U. S:

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