National Banned Books Week is September 23 through September 29, 2018. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read. Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
But while libraries are pillars of this country's truly unique democratic principles, libraries are also much, much more.
“The public is invited to visit any of our four libraries,” said Library Director Ed Erjavek. “They are also welcome, with our library card, to access a wide range of electronic resources that we offer from the comfort of their home or office. These include eBooks and Audiobooks, a business directory, full-text magazine articles and electronic versions of popular magazines, taking practice tests for a job or educational pursuits, homework assistance with an online tutor, full text newspaper articles from the San Bernardino Sun since 2001, and other resources.”
State Librarian Greg Lucas said, “Libraries are equalizers, opportunity providers, instruments of inclusion. They’re the most welcoming place for the most disenfranchised. Libraries are books, of course, and books are beautiful things; but libraries are also community centers. They teach adults to read, help people get better jobs, connect people to the needle they seek in a worldwide haystack of information. They offer a place for people to invent and create – even publish their own books. Libraries are afterschool homework havens and summer reading programs. They are pre-kindergarten learning centers. Libraries help veterans and others in need. For those without Internet access – some 25 percent of Californians don’t have Internet access at home – libraries are their digital lifeline…all for free. Libraries – and librarians – celebrate diversity – something California has more of than any place on earth and any place in history. Diversity fosters acceptance, patience and empathy.”