Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jan 2001
Source: Denver Rocky Mountain News (CO)
Copyright: 2001 Denver Publishing Co.
Contact:  400 W. Colfax, Denver, CO 80204
Authors: Denise Campbell, Bill McBride, Jackie Swensson and Carol Sullivan


In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith risks his life to read a political 
tract - a dangerous, seditious act in the eyes of Big Brother. Now we find 
a Big Brotherly assault on a Denver bookstore in the form of a search 
warrant ordering the Tattered Cover to reveal titles of books sold to a 
suspected drug dealer.

As English teachers, we believe that reading nourishes our democracy, and 
we applaud the Tattered Cover's appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court asking 
it to declare the search warrant unconstitutional. As officers in the 
Colorado Language Arts Society, an organization of educators from 
kindergarten to college, we support the bookstore in the name of literacy 
and democracy.

While fiercely opposing drug dealers, we agree with bookseller Joyce Meskis 
that the First Amendment protects us from government agencies who want to 
prosecute citizens on the basis of what they read, be it books about a 
wizard named Harry Potter, drugs, or any other idea, organization or practice.

Last spring our organization awarded Joyce Meskis an Intellectual Freedom 
Award, noting that she has consistently and bravely asserted the 
constitutional rights of her customers and all citizens to read books that 
may "push the buttons" of others. At the same time, she has insisted on 
working to uphold and change, rather than to flout, the law.

Denise Campbell, Bill McBride, Jackie Swensson and Carol Sullivan
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