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The freedom to read and access ideas can transform lives – but when books are challenged or banned outright, readers are blocked from seeing all viewpoints and perspectives. That’s one of the reasons why libraries and bookstores focus on the harm of censorship during Banned Books Week, Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, 2016.

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, local authors, librarians and other lovers of freedom will stand up for their right to read during a public reading of banned and challenged works at the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street. The free event takes place in the library Community Room, with refreshments offered at 5:30 pm and guest readings starting at 6:00 pm. Drawings will also be held for Banned Books Week t-shirts, buttons and other giveaways. The event is hosted by the Rock Island Public Library and the Midwest Writing Center.

This Banned Books Week event celebrates the right to choose reading materials for oneself without bans or challenges to that access. A book challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials based upon objections of a particular person or group. A ban is the removal of the material altogether. According to American Libraries magazine, 45 percent of book challenges in 2015 occurred in a public library setting.

The Banned Books Reading is free and open to the public. Banned Books Week is presented annually in the final week of September by the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.

For more free programs, visit www.rockislandlibrary.org, sign up for the library email newsletter or follow Rock Island Library’s social media sites. For other questions about library services and programs, call 309-732-READ.

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written almost 30 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.