The Freedom to Read Statement

New postings at libraries across the United States are an
imposing testament to the idea that we now are all under
surveillance and that the government has the right to know what we
are reading. And while this may come as a surprise to many
citizens, organizers at the Westchester Conference of the American
Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council came
up with The Freedom to Read Statement in 1953 out of concern that
the national tradition of free expression was no longer valid. ?We
believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of
a free society and a creative culture,? the statement reads. It
would seem that the concerns expressed in the statement hold just
as much relevance today as when they were written?proof that the
intensity of government watchfulness and censorship ebbs and flows
throughout the course of U.S. history. ?No art or literature can
flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private
lives of its creators,? the statement says. Not only does
censorship penalize those who have already spoken, it is a
deterrent for those with something to say.
?Nick Garafola

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Freedom to
Read Statement

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