Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) strives every day to live up to the words etched above the entrance to our Main Library and ensure our city’s libraries and the information to which they provide access are free to the people. To us that also means everyone is free to access the knowledge they want, need, and deserve. We strive to ensure each of us can read what we want and that our neighbors can too, even if it’s not what we want to read ourselves.
Yet the fact is there are more and more efforts across the country by people wanting to tell other people what they can and cannot read. While certainly not a new situation—public libraries in the U.S. have marked Banned Books Week for decades to raise awareness of this very issue—it is one that has been increasing for some time and preliminary data for 2023 shows this year is no exception
This year’s national commemoration of Banned Books Week, led by the American Library Association (ALA) has the theme Let Freedom Read! ALA believes “Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.” This commitment to free access is one of the core values of the library profession as described in the Library Bill of Rights which proclaims:
- Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
- Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
- Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.”
This is very much a year-round issue we feel it’s important to speak up about, so are unveiling a full-time Freedom to Read page on the CLP website.
Please join us in celebrating the Freedom to Read for everyone!