Why does the banning of books in our libraries needs to end?

Kelly invokes Harry Potter (2)

Kelly Urman

This spellbinding photo is of Kelly Urman, Adult Services Librarian at the Pima County Public Library, Woods Memorial Branch, and winner of our Banned Books Week Photo Contest and a 2016 ALA conference registration.

“It was pure delight shooting this photo with Kelly, as she had a keen eye for the design,” commented Urman’s colleague and photographer, Elizabeth Salper. “I wanted to keep the focus on her eyes, while also highlighting the books as a second cloak.  I took the photo lying on my stomach to lend immediacy. I then asked Kelly to look away, and she offered that magical Harry Potter gleam!”

During last week’s 2015 ALA annual conference in San Francisco, CA, Kelly was randomly chosen from a wide and creative pool of contenders, along with our two runners-up: Miranda Doyle, a teacher-librarian of Lake Oswego School District and Martha Boksenbaum, a children’s librarian at the Chelsea Public Library.

Doyle and Boksenbaum each received a $100 SAGE Book credit and donations of a few frequently challenged books to their respective libraries.

After ALA, we caught up with our top three contest winners and discussed their passion for the freedom to read. See what they had to say, and a slideshow of all of the photo submissions, below.

Why you support the freedom to read?

“I believe in libraries.  No matter how big or small, a library represents ideas and knowledge and, most importantly, access to those ideas and knowledge.  I can’t imagine how I would feel if someone told me I couldn’t read something I wanted to, whatever the reason.” –Kelly Urman

“I grew up in a tiny little town, but with access to the library and all of the books in it — no one told me what I could or couldn’t read — I learned all about the world around me. Now I’ve lived in huge cities and visited dozens of countries, and the library is still my favorite place. The freedom to read, and access to a diverse collection of materials, helps people expand their horizons no matter who or where they are.”- Miranda Doyle

“I support the freedom to read because reading helps develop an open mind and as well as a critical one. In order to have an informed society which values knowledge, we must ensure that information be made freely available to everyone. Working with children, I find it especially important for them to be able to develop their own worldview through a variety of sources, especially when reading. But more importantly, the freedom to read makes it fun! No one wants to read a book if it’s chosen for them, especially children, and being able to choose what they read helps them develop their own identity as readers.”- Martha Boksenbaum

Why does the banning of books in our libraries needs to end?

“Censorship is not the American way.  I’m eager to hear other people’s ideas and opinions and respect the fact that we may not always agree.  Walking into a library, like opening the cover of a book, has the power to take me to another place or to show me another way.  The most important thing in my wallet?  My library card.” -Kelly Urman

“People have every right to decide what they want to read, but no right to make that decision for someone else. Ideas can be dangerous, true, but it’s much more dangerous to a society to try to censor those ideas.”- Miranda Doyle

“The banning of books in libraries needs to end because libraries are the keepers of information. It is the one place people trust to provide information to them without selling them something or trying to influence their point of view. If libraries ban books, they are sending the message to the world that censorship is ok, and that the freedom to read is not important to them. Libraries need to present themselves as the defenders of the freedom to read, and encourage their patrons to seek information even if it challenges their beliefs-especially if it challenges their beliefs!”- Martha Boksenbaum

We would like to thank everyone who took a stand for the freedom to read! Check out a slideshow of all of our entrants below.

2015 Banned Books Photo Contest Entrees from SAGE Publications


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