For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


Local Celebrities Gather at Parkway Central Library to Read from Previously Banned Books

PHILADELPHIA, September 9, 2009—In Cold Blood; The Great Gatsby; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Lord of the Rings. Now considered classics, these literary masterpieces were all once the subject of controversy, and their placement in libraries across the nation was challenged or banned. On Wednesday, September 30, at 7:30 p.m., the Free Library of Philadelphia will partner with the American Civil Liberties Union and celebrate the freedom to read by hosting the Banned Books Reading at the Parkway Central Library. In honor of Banned Books Week, local celebrities will present selections from books that were once banned or challenged for their subject matter.

Philadelphia Inquirer Commentary Editor John Timpane will emcee the evening’s events in the Montgomery Auditorium, and local celebrity guests will include web comic artist Brad Guigar; actor and filmmaker Jared Martin; playwright Ed Shockley; and theater director Jane Stogak. The program will also include a discussion on the controversy over banned books and the freedom to read.

“We are proud to shed light on the fact that banning and challenging books is still common today and is not merely a thing of the past,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “According to the American Library Association, American libraries were faced with 3,736 challenges to various books over the past eight years. This event is being held to celebrate the true freedom of expression we exercise when we read what we choose.”

Each year since 1982, libraries across the nation have commemorated Banned Books Week during the last week in September. According to the American Library Association, “Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.”

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than six million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850