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Knowledge must be free

Yes on 23, fight against banning books

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 04:10

 

In the relatively near future, there will be two events highlighting our right to avoid censorship and freely pursue knowledge, the access to which is in jeopardy. 

The first of these is the University of Toledo’s annual celebration of Banned Books Week, which is scheduled for Oct. 18. The second is Proposal 23, Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s tax levy, up for vote Nov. 6.

(Disclosure: Rhonda Sewell, media relations coordinator for the TLCPL, until recently served on the board of the Collegian Media Foundation, which publishes the IC. In addition, a member of our opinion editor’s immediate family works for the library system. Finally, the IC is one of the sponsors of Banned Book Week.)

As students, any chance given to celebrate access to education should be taken. As an American, the fight against censorship, which is still alive today, is crucial to one’s professional and personal development. This censorship has come in the form of stopping a scholar’s teaching, or as Banned Books Week emphasizes, a scholar’s writing. Censorship has come from many different sources — religion, government and media. 

It is critical that scholarship be free of the restraint of censorship. Without this freedom, progress is, at times, slowed to a glacial pace and honest scholarship cannot occur. See our article in Rocket Life for a list of activities going on during Banned Books Week and make sure to attend.

The other way to support education is to vote yes on Proposal 23. This tax levy will increase the yearly tax for the average $100,000 home by $27.55. If it doesn’t pass, public library funds will be reduced by half, which could easily lead to libraries across Lucas County being shut down.

The money from the levy will help fund the 19 public library branches in Lucas County, as well as library outreach services that provide book delivery services for home-bound persons.

Half the system is funded by the state government, but the other half comes from tax levies such as this one. Due to state funding cuts in 2009, Lucas County libraries have had to cut staff, reduce operating hours and refrain from purchasing new books.

Our libraries do so much for our community by providing tons of resources for free — music, studying tools, Internet and computer access, educational programs and movie and activity nights. If you believe in UT’s mission to improve our community, vote to continue funding Toledo’s free and public library system.

If you support Banned Books Week and Issue 23, you are supporting education and a better Toledo. 

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