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Library Wants Volunteers for 'Banned Books Reading Marathon'

The Alameda Free Library is hosting a banned books reading marathon to support the right to read what you choose, coinciding with Banned Books Week. You can volunteer.

Want to read a banned book? Want to read a banned book out loud, at the Alameda Free Library, to support the freedom to read what you choose, without censorship?

Don't worry — it doesn't have to be racy. The books most challenged by individuals and groups, according to the American Library Association, include the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson; the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey; and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

"Banned Books Week, the only national celebration of the Freedom to Read, begins this Sunday, Sept. 30, and runs through next Saturday, Oct. 6," says Cosette Ratliff, the supervising librarian for adult services.

"In celebration of this basic right to read what we choose, the Library is hosting a community-wide Banned Books Reading Marathon. Everyone who can read (even with help) is invited to come to the Main Library at 1550 Oak St. during our open hours to read aloud from one of the banned/challenged books for up to 30 minutes.

"We also have special reading times set aside at both the West End and Bay Farm Island Libraries.

"Books and ideas are central to our identity and to an informed community. Censorship in any form stops the discussion of issues that allows us to understand what we believe and what we stand for (or against).

"Celebrate the right to decide for yourself by joining us at the Library for Banned Books Week. It's easy to sign up. Just come in, call or e-mail us. We'll be happy to put you on the list of readers. If you're too shy to read out loud in front of others, come and listen. You might find a new favorite book or idea."

You may email Ratliff at cratliff@ci.alameda.ca.us or phone the main library at (510) 747-7777.

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