April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Bill Moyers Joins ALA’s Banned Books Week Virtual Read Out

Award-winning journalist Bill Moyers has joined the American Library Association’s (ALA) Virtual Read Out campaign with a three-minute video on book banning and the dangers of censorship.

Bill Moyers Joins ALA’s Banned Books Week Virtual Read Out.

As honorary co-chair of this year’s Banned Books Week, from September 30 to October 6, Moyers’s video, “The Bane of Banned Books,” talks about how he grew up in East Texas without any money for books, so he’d go to the small local library where he checked out his first books: Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days and a primer on Greek and Roman mythology.

Years later, when he entered the library as a freshman at a state college, Moyers says he was overwhelmed.

“I looked down at row after row of books and periodicals and thought, ‘Wow! All this for me?’” says Moyers, adding that he even considered majoring in library science just to be close to all those books. “Which is one reason it pains me to think that in this modern age, some folks and communities across America are saying, ‘No, that book isn’t for you.’”

ALA’s Virtual Read Out is an advocacy campaign that highlights the danger of censoring books in schools and libraries, and provides an opportunity for readers to demonstrate their support for the First Amendment by reading from their favorite banned or challenged books.

Joining Moyers in this year’s Virtual Read-Out are frequently challenged authors Dori Hillstad Butler, Stephen Chbosky, Sara Paretsky, Carmen Tafolla, and others. More than 800 videos were uploaded during last year’s Banned Books Week, including posts from authors Jay Asher, Judy Blume, Chris Crutcher, Whoopi Goldberg, and Lauren Myracle.

Be sure to mark your calendars for another Banned Books Week event: Moyers will discuss book censorship and Banned Books Week, along with other topics, in a “Live Chat with Bill Moyers” on Monday, October 1 at 3 p.m. EST. Join the chat with your class by leaving comments and questions on the site or via Twitter @BillMoyers.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by ALA, which recognizes the importance of the freedom to read. For more information about book challenges and bans in your area, or a listing of Banned Books Week events sponsored by libraries, bookstores and other groups across the county, visit the Banned Books Week website.



About Debra Lau Whelan

Debra Whelan is a former senior editor for news and features at SLJ.