Bill and Judith Moyers Honorary Chairs of Banned Books Week

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Bill Moyers to speak out against censorship in new online video

Award-winning broadcast journalist Bill Moyers and Judith Davidson Moyers, president of Public Affairs Television, have been named honorary co-chairs of Banned Books Week (September 30 – October 6).

Bill Moyers, a long-time supporter of Banned Books Week, will appear in an online video addressing the importance of our freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

“Censorship is the enemy of truth, even more than a lie,” said Moyers. “A lie can be exposed; censorship can prevent us from knowing the difference.”

Moyers’ video is part of the Virtual Read-Out, a campaign to spotlight the harms of censorship in schools and libraries. The video will be released on September 28 to encourage librarians, teachers, students, and community members to stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Bookstore customers, library patrons, authors, and others are encouraged to demonstrate their support for the First Amendment by posting up to a three-minute video of a reading from their favorite banned or challenged books to the special Virtual Read-Out YouTube channel. More than 800 videos were uploaded during Banned Books Week 2011, including posts from highly acclaimed and/or frequently challenged authors such as Jay Asher, Judy Blume, Chris Crutcher, Whoopi Goldberg, and Lauren Myracle.

In this year’s first Virtual Read-Out video, posted by Bookmans, an independent bookstore in Arizona, customers and staff recite a single line from a challenged book that testifies to the importance of books, reading, and freedom of speech while a light bulb shines overhead to encourage viewers to “turn on the light” to celebrate free expression.

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) provides written instructions and a how-to video for booksellers who are interested in participating in the Virtual Read-Out. ABFFE will also handle the editing and posting of the videos. Details are available on the Banned Books Week page on the ABFFE website. Questions should be addressed to ABFFE President Chris Finan.

In addition to ABFFE, the sponsors of Banned Books Week are the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Association of College Stores, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, and PEN American Center.  Banned Books Week is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and Project Censored.