During Banned Books Week, the American Library Association urges readers to pick up a book that’s been banned or challenged at one time or another.
And now readers can do just that – and share that book with others – on the Banned Books Week Read-Out YouTube channel. YouTube users can upload videos of themselves reading from banned or challenged books on the channel to show their support for freedom from censorship. Selections posted on the YouTube channel so far have included readings from "The Perks of Being A Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote, and “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller.
Videos are limited to two minutes. In addition, users can also upload three-minute videos detailing their eyewitness accounts of books being challenged in their area.
Libraries are also being encouraged by the ALA to upload videos of their patrons doing readings of their own.
The channel replaces the protest organized by the ALA in past years, in which participants gathered in Chicago to read excerpts of banned books. In 2010, the readings went on continuously for two hours. This year's Virtual Read-Out program is scheduled to take place from September 24 to October 1.
The channel currently has a playlist titled Celebrity Read-Outs, which includes Whoopi Goldberg and Sarah Dessen, and two other playlists for YouTube readers who have uploaded videos. The two playlists onto which anyone can upload currently has 38 videos.
Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.