Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.
—Nathan Thornburgh, Time
It is not every week that the words "library" and "censorship" light Google on fire but the past ten days or so have seen a huge amount of internet traffic about the Palin censorship issue raised in the Time magazine article quoted above. By now, you most likely know that the list of books Palin supposedly sought to have removed from public library shelves in Alaska that has circulated on blogs and mass emails is a hoax. Sharp eyes immediately recognized a few books on that list that were not even published at the time Palin was mayor of the small Alaskan village in question. The list is noteworthy though because it does contain some of the most challenged and banned books in the United States. The controversy surrounding the list is also interesting because so many had no difficulty believing that the Alaskan governor would engage in censorship or that these are books Palin would target. I am going to do something vaguely irresponsible here and reprint the list.
Put aside any political preferences for a moment and really look at this list. Look for a book that moved you to tears. Look for a book dear to you as a child or dear to a child you hold close now. Look for a book that held a mirror up to your face and showed you a part of yourself as yet undiscovered. Look for the book that celebrated your think-outside-the-box self. Look for the book that introduced you to someone way outside your own comfort zone. Look for anything that strikes you. Celebrate your own freedom to read whatever you want to read.
September 27 - October 4 is Banned Books Week. This annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. Head over to the ALA Store, grab a great bag like mine above or maybe a t-shirt or maybe just read through the info and download a list of frequently challenged or banned books. Check out Banned Books Week on Facebook or My Space. Read a few banned books. It is your right, your freedom.