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Rock Island Library Hosts "Read-Out" for Banned Books Week

The Rock Island Public Library supported the freedom to read this week.

On Thursday, the Watts-Midtown Branch hosted a "read-out" in partnership with the Midwest Writing Center. Volunteers read excerpts from banned books, like The Grapes of Wrath or The 1619 Project.

Spokesperson Lisa Lockheart says it's part of Banned Books Week.

"In general, people are supportive of the right to choose for yourself what you wish to read, and to choose for your own family what you wish to read, and that's the central point of this week is that that choice of what you read should be up to you."

Lockheart says the freedom to read is a "pillar of democracy."

"A lot of these bans that are running across the country, they run the gamut of reasons, but central is that they might represent an idea or situation that the challenger does not agree with, and in a democracy, we believe it is your right to choose what you read, and what you think, and what you view."

The American Library Association has reported a sharp rise in attempted book bans over the past several years. Most of the challenged books were written by or about a person of color, or member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Rachel graduated from Michigan State University's J-School and has a background in broadcast and environmental journalism. Before WVIK, she worked for WKAR Public Media, Great Lakes Now, and more. In her free time, she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with her cat.