Yesterday, free speech lovers around the country got to join Cory Doctorow, author of the novel Little Brother, for a Google+ Hangout on Air discussing the importance of fighting censorship and the value of Banned Books Week.
CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein moderated the lively discussion. Nanette Perez, Program Officer of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Michael O’Neil with the National Coalition Against Censorship, and Dave Gladney, Director of Communications Technology from the Association of American Publishers, also joined the Hangout to provide an overview of ways in which publishers, librarians, educators, and free speech advocates can fight censorship.
Doctorow discussed the current controversy surrounding his novel at a high school in Pensacola, Florida. Little Brother had been thoroughly vetted for use in a summer reading program, but the school’s principal unilaterally cancelled the program despite a lack of formal challenge. During the Hangout, Doctorow remained diplomatic, describing the principal as “someone who made a bad decision,” and he spoke about the ways in which faculty at the school defended the book. Doctorow expressed thanks to the faculty in Pensacola for taking a professional risk in protesting the cancellation of the program and defending his book.
The panel also spoke about the controversy in South Carolina over Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and Banned Books Week, which will focus on graphic novels. During the latter, the discussion focused on ways in which people can celebrate Banned Books Week, which takes place September 21-27, and provided ideas for programs, displays, and events to defend the right to read!
If you couldn’t join the Hangout, never fear — video is embedded below!