Administrative Offices: (620) 364-2010

By: Patricia Rudolph, Burlington Branch

“Let freedom ring,” a famous phrase spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is a phrase I’m sure we’re all
familiar with, but have we ever thought about what it actually means? According to
it’s ”a statement that the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be spread across the
Earth and allowed to flourish.” When Dr. King spoke those words during his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech he
was making a plea for equality for people of all races in America-for everyone to be “guaranteed the
unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It’s been 60 years since Dr. King’s speech
and those words still remain relevant today.

Over 20 years ago the American Library Association (ALA) began compiling data about books being
banned and challenged in the US. As stated on the ALA website:
( a book challenge is “an attempt to remove or
restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.” A book banning “is the removal of
those materials.” These challenges occur most often in school libraries (41%) and public libraries (48%).
Data from the challenges reported in 2022 indicates that of the record 2,571 unique titles targeted, “the
vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black
people, Indigenous people, and people of color.”

Banned Books Week (October 1-7, 2023) celebrates the freedom to read. It emphasizes our First
Amendment right to read any book we want. The theme for Banned Books Week 2023: ‘Let Freedom
Read’ highlights the importance of allowing individuals the choice to pick up books written about and by
people of diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Books can be mirrors in which we see ourselves
represented. They can also be windows through which we can glimpse into new worlds and see things
from new and different points of view. “When we ban books, we’re closing off readers to people, places,
and perspectives. But when we stand up for stories, we unleash the power that lies inside every book.
We liberate the array of voices that need to be heard and the scenes that need to be seen. Let freedom

We’re extremely fortunate in Coffey County to have a spectacular public library system, consisting of
over 30 competent staff, ready to assist you in finding the books that are right for you. Join us in
celebrating our right to read by checking out a book.