Banned Books Week: Mary Burton's Thoughts On How To Get Involved

Today marks the final day of Banned Books Week, when booklovers celebrate intellectual freedom, the ability to read whatever their hearts desires and the protections granted by the First Amendment. But what does Banned Book Week actually mean and how can authors keep the spirit of the week's cultural impact going all year round? We asked author Mary Burton to share some insight and suggestions of ways authors can get involved.

 The American Library Association’s Banned Book Week runs from September 24, 2011 - September 29, 2011. This awareness campaign, held annually since 1982, celebrates our freedom to read. I encourage all of you to get involved and take a bit of your time to bring awareness to this important event and topic. So what can you do?

Visit the American Library Association’s site and read through the lists of banned or challenged books. You will be amazed to see which books made the list like Twilightthe Harry Potter series, A Wrinkle in Time and James and the Giant Peach. Don’t be surprised if some of your most beloved books have either been banned or challenged.

Read a Banned Book. Every year during banned book week, I make a point to read a banned and/or challenged book. This year I’ve been on the American Library Association’s site scanning the 2011 list of banned or challenged books. My pick this year is an old favorite: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Reach out to your community. Many aren’t aware of banned book week and as authors we should be contacting our neighbors to letting them know about this very important week.

Contact your local library and ask them if they’d like to host a reading of banned books. Then invite fellow authors to join you in a reading of your favorite banned books. Send press releases out and let the media know what you’re doing.

Blog, Facebook, Twitter. Share your Banned Book Week lessons and insights and encourage others to do the same.

Any other ideas? Share them with me and Open Road Media. Tweet them to @maryburtonbooks and @openroadmedia or use these hash tags to spread the word: #bannedbooksweek #speak #speakloudly. And you can take a look at the Open Road's blogposts from the week to see some of the discussion taking place about banned books.

- Mary Burton