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Banned Books Week: Nancy Pearl, Egalitarian Librarian

The most librarian of librarians talks about “unconscious book banning” and the democracy of librarianship.


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Nancy Pearl
Courtesy of Nancy Pearl.
Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl is a human blueprint for librarianship. (She’s also a writer and NPR contributor.) She embodies the profession’s ideals so thoroughly that she’s actually the model for a librarian action figure. Intellectual freedom, access to information, and an egalitarian respect for knowledge are at the center of who she is, and of what Banned Books Week is all about. In this interview, Nancy talks about what she calls the “unconscious book banning” that librarians strive to overcome when choosing books for their collections, the democracy of librarianship, and how she has defended intellectual freedom in her long rock star librarian career.

Since Banned Books Week started in 1982, according to the Banned Books Week Coalition, more than 11,300 books have been challenged in the US. To bring awareness to this fact, from September 25th through October 1, individuals, bookstores, and organizations across the United States will celebrate intellectual freedom and the freedom to read.

Houston Public Media is marking Banned Books Week 2016 with a digital series of interviews. Librarians, writers, professors, and activists will talk about the topic from a variety of viewpoints. To find out more about Banned Books Week activities in the Houston area and elsewhere, go here.

Many thanks to audio producer Todd Hulslander for his help with this series.

This BBW mini-series is part of Writing the City, an occasional audio series about writers and writing.

Banned Books Week