1 December 2011

The First Banned Books Video Calendar is Ready!

The Entresse Library in Espoo, Finland and FAIFE (IFLA Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression) have together created the world's first Banned Books video calendar. The project has garnered international attention and is considered pioneering in many ways.

"Last year, Entresse created a Finnish video calendar of banned books. Due to the high quality of the final product, we decided to take it to an international forum," says Director Kai Ekholm of the National Library of Finland and the Chair of FAIFE.

The project's participants include leading figures in the library world, who introduce their favourite banned books: IFLA President Ingrid Parent presents Timothy Findlay's The Wars; Finnish IFLA President-elect Sinikka Sipilä presents Mika Waltari's The Egyptian; Kai Ekholm introduces Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Executive Director Jill Cousins of the Europeana Foundation expounds on James Joyce's Ulysses. Other books include Art Spiegelman's Maus, Hitler's Mein Kampf, Boccaccio's Decameron and Walt Disney's Donald Duck.

"We wanted to show that books have been censored for centuries for daring to defy the Catholic Church with its Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the Puritans, judicial systems and politicians," Ekholm notes. The purpose of the project is to promote public debate. Viewers can have their say on whether the books were banned for a sensible reason. "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."

Following the tradition of the Advent calendar, each day between December 1st and December 24th a new window will open and a new book will be presented on several sites throughout the world.

Daily posts available at:

Twitter hashtag: #bannedbookscalendar

More information: Panu Somerma, Panu.Somerma@espoo.fi

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to knowledge, Censorship, Freedom to read

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