Freedom of Speech advocate gives library talk

Banned Books Week kicks off at the Patchogue-Medford Library

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From trolls online to cancel culture and censorship, free speech debates dominate headlines and fuel social media. Free speech is rarely understood and always fast-changing. This year’s Freedom To Read Banned Books Week celebration will run from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2 with a “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us” theme.

The Patchogue-Medford Library was recent recipient of The Freedom to Read Foundation Grant for a Banned Books Week celebration. To celebrate the freedom to read, the library will be creating a display of banned and challenged books wrapped in kraft paper, with the reason for the challenge written on the outside.

According to the library, anyone who checks out a banned book from the display will receive an exclusive mug. Follow @pmlib on Instagram to follow the library’s Hide A Book Instagram campaign. Banned books will be placed in establishments throughout area for people to find.

This year’s main event will feature author Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America and author of “Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech For All,at The Better Man Distilling Co. in Patchogue on Sept. 27. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

Her book focuses on free speech in a “diverse, digitized, and divided society and offers a path forward to both protect free speech and combat bigotry.”

During the event, she will speak and answer questions from the audience. To submit questions in advance and to register visit the library’s website pmlib.org or call the library at (631-654-4700). The event will also be streamed via Zoom.

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