Unbound – Eat, Drink and be Literary

Literacize – exercise your freedom to read!

Glenfiddich single malt whisky tasting

The 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week recently celebrated your right to read. The ALA fights hard for the freedom to read because books are challenged and banned every year, especially in school libraries. Books have been banned for centuries (remember the catholic church ‘index of prohibited books, including Copernicus and Darwin)  but even in the 21st century the number of books challenged or banned has been increasing. Your beloved Harry Potter or the Hunger Games continue to have dissenters and protesters. Books and authors continue to be prosecuted for moral, racial, religious and political reasons. Chinese writer Lin Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2010 but was imprisoned by his government.

The library held a whisky-tasting event not only to raise funds for the library but also to raise awareness for our freedom to read. While it is true that not every book is intended for every reader, the Rochester Public Library firmly believes that each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. By highlighting banned and challenged books during Banned Books Week we are not necessarily endorsing specific titles, but we are working to raise awareness that censorship exists in America and within our community.

Silent Auction items - banned book purse

The Banned Books and Booze fund-raising event was held on Thursday, September 27 at the Canadian Honker Event Center at the Ramada Inn.  The evening started with loads of cheese and crackers, a variety of bruschetta, chicken bites, and the most scrumptious prime rib sandwiches ever! During the social hour, 97 attendees had the chance to bid on silent auction items and to purchase banned or challenged books that The Friends of the Library brought. David Allardice, the ambassador from Glenfiddich, brought the attendees on a virtual tour through the Glenfidich distillery in Scotland while they tasted 12, 15, 18, & 21 year old Scotch.

An impressive $3000 was raised and will go straight to the library for a new roving reference cart for the children’s area, some new cordless power tools for the library’s maintenance crew, and a new oven/stove for the kitchen in the auditorium for library patrons and staff to use. These are items that are not normally budgeted for but are much needed in order to maintain our library services to the community.

The Rochester Public Library is grateful to everyone who made this event possible: Glenfiddich Distillery, Andy’s Liquor, Canadian Honker Event Center. Silent Auction Donors: Civic Theatre, Rochester Music, Friends of the Rochester Public Library, Rochester Public Library Foundation, Spectrum Aviation, Unshelved, and other private donations.

Banned books for sale at the event by the Friends of the LibraryDelicious appetizers!

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