Banned books advent video calendar

Festive spotlight on banned books

The National Library of Scotland (NLS) is continuing to promote a public debate about book censorship by taking part in the world's first banned books video calendar.

This summer NLS staged a major exhibition to highlight the issue of censorship and it is now supporting an international project designed to focus further attention on the issue.

It is contributing to the Banned Books Advent Calendar which will run on websites around the world. It will feature a new banned book every day in the run up to Christmas being discussed by professional librarians, politicians and others. The Orkney MSP Liam McArthur, NLS National Librarian Martyn Wade and NLS curator Jan Usher will be among the Scottish contributions.

The books to be featured include George Orwell's 'Animal Farm', Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl', James Joyce's 'Ulysses', Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' and even Walt Disney's 'Donald Duck'.

Martyn Wade said: 'Our "Banned books" exhibition in the summer was one of the most successful we have ever held, showing there is a huge interest in the subject. Censorship has existed down the centuries and is still a real problem in some parts of the world. We hope the online calendar focuses further attention on the issue.'

The project has been organised by the Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) and the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). Kai Ekholm, Director of the National Library of Finland and Chair of FAIFE, said: 'Books are still being burned, but the focus now is on online censorship. Sad examples include Turkey and Hungary in Europe and, on the world stage, China, where 450 million online citizens live in a closed intranet without access to Facebook or various Google searches. Perhaps next year's calendar will focus on banned web pages.'

The purpose of the project is to promote public debate. Viewers can have their say on whether the books to be featured on the calendar were banned for a sensible reason.

Each day from December 1 until Christmas a new window will open and a new book will be presented. The calendar can be seen at


See also: 'Banned books advent calendar' page

1 December 2011

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