Imagine someone telling you what you can and cannot read. Every year the American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week during the last week of September, to remind Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. Observed since 1982, this event celebrates the freedom to choose or to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. TeachingBooks.net, a company that provides online book and author resources to more than 14,000 schools, is bringing awareness and information on banned books to educators and its staff through a number of different opportunities.

“As a company that was founded on the vision of equalizing access to educational resources about authors/illustrators and books by using the Internet, it’s only natural for TeachingBooks.net to value intellectual freedom and the freedom to read,” said Carin Bringelson, TeachingBooks.net librarian and Information Manager. “You can’t equalize access to a resource if that resource is censored.”

1) A commemorative “QuickSearch” of Banned Books resources is available for anyone to use to gain insight into the books most challenged during the past year. Search Results list author programs, book guides, book readings, author’s personal websites, valuable links and audio files of a few authors pronouncing their names. View TeachingBooks.net’s Banned Books Week resources from the QuickSearch drop-down menu or go to http://www.teachingbooks.net/BannedBooks.

2) TeachingBooks.net is freely inviting everyone to meet the American Library Association’s most challenged author of 2005 in the original TeachingBooks.net author program with Robie Harris. In the movie, everyone can now hear Robie Harris discuss the importance of accurate information in her books on puberty, sexuality and reproduction, including It’s So Amazing and It’s Perfectly Normal. The author program can be viewed at http://TeachingBooks.net/RobieHarris.

3) TeachingBooks.net is hosting its first official in-service for its five-member staff. Both Robie Harris and nationally renowned Intellectual Freedom champion Ginny Moore Kruse will join the staff for a conversation on our roles as advocates for access to all types of information found in many formats.

4) TeachingBooks.net is using this opportunity to formalize and publicize our Collection Development Policy. As an Internet company that works within the constraints of software filters in schools, the policy reinforces the importance of educating students to think critically by stating, in part, “Software Internet filters contradict TeachingBooks.net’s perspective that life-long learning and information literacy is best served by educating students to think critically so that they can be their own filters.”

5) TeachingBooks.net has created a Banned Books Week display that highlights the books of author Robie Harris and illustrator Michael Emberley. They are the creators of the most challenged book of 2005, and TeachingBooks.net is proud to be associated with them and their publications.

To learn more about TeachingBooks.net, visit http://www.teachingbooks.net/press.

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