Education

‘Let Freedom Read' events fight censorship by promoting banned books

The events come as attempts to censor books in public libraries and schools increase around the nation

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Libraries across the Commonwealth are hosting silent protests as a way to make a big statement about Banned Book Week. 

The series is called “Let Freedom Read” and more than 70 libraries are hosting read-in events. In an effort to fight censorship, members of the community are encouraged to come and read a book that has been banned or challenged around the country.

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Amesbury Public Library hosted their read-in on Monday. Several readers filled the grass outside of the library and cracked open a book. 

“I was actually really surprised to see a lot of banned books and challenged books are children’s books. That makes me really sad,” Susan Pierce said, who came to read books to her grandchildren. 

Norwood also hosted a read-in event on the Norwood Town Common Monday afternoon. Dozens of readers pulled up lawn chairs and read books that had been challenged or banned. 

The events come as attempts to censor books in public libraries and schools increase around the nation, and Massachusetts is not immune. According to the American Library Association, the number of attempts to restrict access to books in Massachusetts has quadrupled over the last year.

“We want to make sure these books that are challenged and banned are actually talked about because a lot of them are marginalized voices and important voices that need to be heard,” Claire Dombrowski of the Amesbury Public Library said. 

A full list of “Let Freedom Read” events can be found here.

The Boston Public Library is also opening its digital collection to teens and young adults nationwide. The goal is to give them access to books that might be banned where they live.   

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