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The Web LeRue Press (LRP)

The Washoe County Library System was unable to be on the Book Hound Show to talk about Banned Books Week but provided the following statement:

Freedom to Read Statement from the Washoe County Library System

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. Accordingly, the Washoe County Library System joins other public libraries across the nation in supporting the individual’s right to access ideas and information representing all points of view.

 The Washoe County Library System Board of Trustees has adopted the American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read Statement,” which says in part:

             “Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression. . . .

 “Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.”

The Washoe County Library System recognizes that some materials may be controversial and that any given item may offend someone. While the individual is clearly entitled to determine what materials are consistent with her/his own values, he or she can apply those values to the use of library materials only for him- or herself. In the same vein, parents and legal guardians have the responsibility to monitor their own children’s use of library materials, but they should not be allowed to determine what is appropriate for other children to read, watch, or listen to.

Again, from the Freedom to Read statement: “. . . We believe that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.”

In closing, I invite everyone listening in today to celebrate the freedom to read at your local Washoe County library.

Arnie Maurins, MLS
Washoe County Library System