Huckleberry Finn, The Night Before Christmas and the Bible are on the list. So are hundreds of other books. Books of all types have been challenged throughout the centuries, which is why the American Library Association instituted Banned Book Week in 1982, and why CLPL is hosting its 2nd Annual Crystal Lake Read Out this September.
"Libraries celebrate our freedom to read," says Carol Heisler Library Trustee and founder of CLPL's 2nd Annual Read Out. "Isn't the free flow of information what a democracy is all about? I think most of us are surprised to learn that over the years, many of our favorite author's works have been challenged because someone else didn't like the material or opposed the ideas expressed."
Carol, was inspired to host the first Read Out after attending an author's reading at Highland Park Library to commemorate their 125-year anniversary. As Chairperson of CLPL's 100-year Anniversary Committee, Carol dreamed of bringing something similar to Crystal Lake for the Library's Centennial. After discussions with Library Director Kathryn I. Martens, and collaboration with Jan Polep, representing the Friends of the Crystal Lake Library and Jessie Exum, representing the Library Foundation, the group agreed to host an afternoon of readings during Banned Book Week in 2013. The event was an immediate success and the group continued to meet to plan this year's event on September 21, 2014. This year's event will be moderated by Stew Cohen, news anchor for WZSR-FM 105.5 and WXFX-FM 103.9 The Fox. Seven individuals including Ray Exum, Susan Gavle, Bill Weller, Deborah Wright, Leslie Schermerhorn and Kurt Begalka will read from challenged materials.
"In September we value and appreciate our right as U.S. citizens to listen to and to read whatever we like," says Carol. "In some countries' citizens don't have this freedom and citizens are captive to the words and ideas held by others. We have the right to choose and compare opinions, theories and concepts and to enjoy fictionalized accounts of life. On this day, we support and are thankful for this tradition in our country."