September 16, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
Nothing says unamerican and reflects a lack of freedom like the banning of books in schools and public libraries.

(I made this)

September 29 - October 6 is Banned Book Week, cosponsored and promoted by the American Library Association (ALA). The annual celebration has been observed since 1982, and it's designed to encourage folks to read the books deemed unacceptable due to reasons such as "anti-family," "racism," and "promoting religious viewpoint," as well as to educate folks on the assault on intellectual freedom.

It doesn't matter which side of an issue you stand on. An attack on intellectual freedom is an attack on everyone, even if you disagree with the content of a particular book.

From the Intellectual Freedom Manual, 7th edition:

"Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate; and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of the work, and the viewpoints of both the author and receiver of information. Freedom to express oneself through a chosen mode of communication, including the Internet, becomes virtually meaningless if access to that information is not protected. Intellectual freedom implies a circle, and that circle is broken if either freedom of expression or access to ideas is stifled."

The ALA has an icon they're using to promote Banned Book Week shown here:

However, since most bloggers use the standard 80 x 15 icon banners, I've decided to make my own, using the same colors used in the official icon.

I've posted the image in my site navigation - feel free to use. Here's some code you can use:

If you want to link to the image, here's the code:

If you want the link to point to my site, it's like this:

And if you want it to point to the ALA site, it's like this:

Note: I've got everything on my site under a Creative Commons license, so please just site this post as the source (maybe you can just mention it in a blog post or something) if you post the image on your own site. Thanks!

In the meanwhile, here's the official "action guide" which gives a monstrous list of suggested activities you can do to support this week long celebration.
np category: politics


Luke said:
You're a gentleman and a scholar Yeshua
September 16, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
I'm glad we're on the same side of this issue. :)
September 16, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
I think I'm enjoying making 80 x 15 banners.

Here's my next one, also found in my center navigation. I'll post on it here in the next couple of days.

Support the EFF!

September 18, 2006

Don Wood said:
Thanks again! It was very thoughtful of you to help get the word out about banned books and Banned Books Week!
September 18, 2006

K.G. Schneider said:
Cool! I put it up on Flickr...
September 18, 2006

K.G. Schneider said:
oops make that
September 18, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Nice! Thanks!
September 18, 2006

Walter Skold said:
It has been over one year since the OIF has been asked to explain why they refuse to post news of Book BURNING in Cuba. A formal request was passed to Mrs. Krug in New Orleans.

If she is still out due to health reasons, can whoever is in charge of the office in her abscence explain why they are taking so long to post this important information or to explain why it is not valid?

All the proof that was asked for was sent to Mr. Wood at the ALA but so far it seems that books burning in Cuba are off the radar of the ALA?

The professional librarians and writers at FREADOM, along with many who follow this issue,are wondering what to make of this silence. I'd say it is censorship, but that is my personal opinion. Hopefully during BBW the OIF office can finally add this crime vs. intellectual freedom to their book burning/banning website?

September 18, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Walter -- I think you might have to contact Don Wood directly, as he's not a regular commenter on this blog, and I'm not sure how often he plans come back and read the new comments.
September 18, 2006

Steve Marquardt said:
Petitions based on Amnesty International info about banned and imprisoned writers, bloggers, journalists and poets are available annually from me ( for the asking. Make them available in your library along with materials available from and enlighten your users about the threat to free expression worldwide.
September 26, 2006

sheila said:
I discovered your site via ALA when I was looking information about banned books. I love your banner and will probably put it on my blog, giving you due credit of course. I'll be checking out the rest of your site too.
September 27, 2006

Bernd said:
As long as the West, in this case Google is helping countries like China to censor the internet, I am afraid for the whole freedom of the press in general.
November 05, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
I tend to play optimist against the pessimists, and pessimist against the optimists, just to balance things out.

That said, Google's actions in China didn't change the state of China - it only reflects how China already is. We're not seeing an increase in censorship with Google's actions, right? Folks in China didn't have freedom of the press before Google stepped in.

November 05, 2006

Carman said:
jovial cynic,
As one who continually makes valuable comments on my blog, I want to inform you of the change. It's been down for over a month while I reworked it and moved to another host. Though the name is the same, the URL is different. You can access the site at:
Hope you'll continue giving your insight.

December 10, 2006

linda lou said:
I need help with a banner for banned books week. I aready have the guy that will do the banner, just not the right words to catch the eye. Please help.
September 05, 2007

Trying to post banner on my site with the html code given. Does not seem to workl
September 07, 2007

jovial_cynic said:
Hrm. I've sent you a message with the proper HTML code. Hope it works.
September 07, 2007

Christiana said:
Hello. I was wondering where I could find the HTML code for banned books on your website. I've looked in various places and can't seem to locate it.


September 26, 2007

Mattheous said:
I found your banner via the ALA website, and I'm going to use it on my blog. Since I use Blogger, I just uploaded it to my account, and I'll cite your post in a post of my own. Is that ok?
February 11, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Mattheous - that's perfect. Thanks for letting me know.
February 11, 2008

Mattheous said:
Actually, I'll use HTML to link it. Do you have a code for that?
February 11, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
I've updated the post. It now contains the code you can use for your site. :)
February 11, 2008

Mattheous said:
February 11, 2008

Devin Johnson said:
Free all USA political prisoners.
Free Mumbia Ado Jamal.

P.S. Just cuz theres Freedom of press legally doesnt mean the 5 corps. give of fair and balanced (or even true) info. We ALL remember what the media was saying b4 the War in Iraq. The media hasnt said said about the Jena 6. The media called black people looking for food in new orleans looters and called white people starving.

They say Hugo Chavez is a dictator when he has a 75% approval rating.
They call Mr. Bush a president when he has 30% and the blood of 1,008,000 people on his hands.

Who has Chavez killed? Poverty has gone down 30% since he came into power and the literacy rate is up 60%. All school and health care is FREE!!

September 29, 2008

::admin-bot:: said:
== comment removed ==

Note from the admin-bot: SPAM removed upon detection.

March 19, 2009

J. Moufawad-Paul said:
I don't think you can call banning books "unamerican" considering that the American public (unlike the public of European countries and Canada, for example) routinely challenges books on puritan and political grounds. Rather, this seems quite "American", regardless of how we want to understand something as nebulous as "American freedom."

An argument against intellectual censorship shouldn't be based on something as unfoundational as patriotism, especially when anti-intellectual patriots can make the opposite argument. Rather, it should be based on the fact that there is something intrinsically wrong with encouraging widespread ignorance.

October 05, 2010

jovial_cynic said:
J. Moufawad-Paul -

I don't disagree with you. "American" is also a nebulous term, and suppose I don't disconnect the encouragement of widespread ignorance from what I feel it means to be "American."

October 05, 2010

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