Schenectady County

‘Read Outs!’ start Sunday to protest banning of books

Readings of banned books will be held at the main branch of the Schenectady County Public Library at

Readings of banned books will be held at the main branch of the Schenectady County Public Library at 2 p.m. Sunday and again at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 at the University Club in Albany.

The “Read Outs!” will feature local writers, actors, poets, directors, activists and community leaders and are sponsored by the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. They will read from works that have been banned or challenged at various times and places in the United States.

The Read Outs! are part of Banned Books Week, held Sept. 24 to Oct. 1. Banned Books Week is an annual event that highlights the First Amendment benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States, said Melanie Trimble, executive director of the Capital Region Chapter of the NYCLU.

According to, a group of Galway residents attempted to have the book “Hang-ups, Hook-ups, and Holding Out: Stuff You Need to Know About Your Body, Sex and Dating,” by Melisa Holmes and Trish Hutchison, banned in 2009 from Galway Public Library. The group cited the book’s “factual errors, philosophy and bias,” according to the website. The Galway Public Library has kept the book on its shelves.

“Intellectual freedom — the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular — provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them,” Trimble said.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bans. “Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers and members of the community who fought to keep them freely available,” she said.

The Top Five books banned or challenged, according to the America Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom: “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald; “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger; “The Grapes of Wrath,” by John Steinbeck; “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee; and “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker.

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