Category: censorship

ICYMI: Gene Luen Yang, Portugal The Man, and Alex Gino Talk Censorship

We were delighted to host three amazing virtual events this week, with free expression superstars Gene Luen Yang, Cody Miller, Jung Kim, Portugal The Man, Alex Gino, and Peter Coyl! In case you missed it, we have the details and videos below.

Banned Books Week, the National Council for Teachers of English, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund spoke with Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Dragon Hoops, Superman Smashes the Klan) and educators Cody Miller and Jung Kim about censorship, the importance of diverse literature, and the use of comics in classrooms.

Grammy Award-winning musicians and free expression heroes Zach Carothers and Eric Howk of Portugal The Man joined Banned Books Week and the National Coalition Against Censorship to discuss the protest when the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough School Board, which oversees schools in the band’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, voted to remove five classic novels from the 11th grade reading list. Through their charitable non-profit, PTM Foundation, Portugal The Man helped provide thousands of copies of the banned books to students in the district.

Acclaimed and award-winning author Alex Gino joined Banned Books Week, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, and Peter Coyl (Director, Montclair Public Library) for a discussion about the censorship of Gino’s award-winning middle grade novel George, which led ALA OIF’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books lists for 2019 and 2018. We also discussed the importance of access to information for young readers and representation on the shelf.

Wrap Up Banned Books Week Virtually!

It may be the last day of Banned Books Week, but it’s not too late to take part in the fun! You can write your favorite banned author (here’s a good place to start if you’re having a hard time deciding who you want to write to), thank your favorite free speech defender, Stand for the Banned in the virtual read-out, or use our customizable downloads to share your favorite banned books and trivia!

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: October 2

We’re telling “Scary Stories” with today’s Banned Books Week events spotlight, which includes a watch party with Cody Meirick, the director of the documentary that digs into the impact of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. Keep reading for more on today’s Banned Books Week events!

Comics: “Are These Real Books?”

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Charles Soule (Undiscovered Country, Daredevil) in conversation with Matthew Noe (GNCRT President-Elect) on why comics so often wind up on annual most challenged books lists, what comics are most often challenged, and what you can do to overcome negative opinions of comics.

Watch Party: “Scary Stories” Documentary

Watch Party: “Scary Stories” Documentary

6:00 pm – 8:30 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Join the American Library Association for a national watch party of “Scary Stories,” a documentary that digs into the history and impact of the banned book “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz. After the film join us on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel for a Q&A with the director, Cody Meirick.

Virtual Banned Books Week Bingo

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm PDT
Virtual Event

Celebrate “Banned Books Week” with book-themed online bingo! Players can try to win by being the first person to mark 5 titles of banned or challenged books in a row (going up or down, left or right, or diagonally). Book titles will include those for children, tweens/teens, and adults. Learn more about Banned Books Week … Read More

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: October 1

Happy Banned Books Week day 5! The celebration of the right to read might be heading toward it’s end, but censorship never stops! Learn about censorship in the comics industry with Image Comics and ALA, enjoy a performance of City Lit Theater’s Books on the Chopping Block, and more in today’s happening. And don’t forget you can still join the celebration on social media! Read on for details.

(Un)Welcome to the Comics Industry

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

It’s not just libraries that have banned comics – sometimes it’s the comics industry itself. Chloe Ramos (Image Comics) and other panelists in conversation with Dan Wood (Escondido Public Library) will discuss how harassment serves as a form of censorship within the industry by creating unsafe and unwelcoming environments, and how awareness of these issues … Read More

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (Mount Prospect Library)

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Celebrate your freedom to read by joining us for a virtual presentation of dramatic readings by City Lit Theater Company featuring the American Library Association’s list of top 10 most challenged books of 2019. City Lit has performed this annual event since 2006 and is excited to showcase these books and to engage with you … Read More

Censura em Brasília durante a Ditadura Militar – Censorship in Brasília during the Military Dictatorship

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm -03
Virtual Event

Lecture about censorship of books and the press in Brasília during the Military Dictatorship (1964 -1985). Content result of postdoctoral research.

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: September 30

We’ve hit the midway point of Banned Books Week, and we’re hitting a high point today with our Alex Gino (George) Facebook Live event! Today is packed, with an ALA / Image Comics panel on the Black people in comics, City Lit Theater’s Books on the Chopping Block, events with BBW Coalition members Index on Censorship and PEN America, and so much more! Read on for details…

Alex Gino, Live with Banned Books Week and ALA OIF!

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom at 1:00 p.m. CDT, September 30, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with acclaimed and award-winning author Alex Gino! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the Banned Books Week Facebook page … Read More

Black People in Comics

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet, X-Factor), Johnnie Christmas (Tartatus, Sheltered) and Chuck Brown (Bitter Root) in a conversation on how Black people have been historically portrayed in comics, from the obstacles of integrating Black characters into mainstream and superhero comics to present day works, issues Black creators face working in the comics industry, and the … Read More

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (DePaul University)

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books … Read More

Resisting Self-Censorship

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST
Virtual Event

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the resultant global Black Lives Matter protests, it has been clearer than ever before that the voices of some are prioritised to the exclusion of others. As part of Banned Books Week 2020 – an annual celebration of the freedom to read – Index is partnering with … Read More

Calling In, Calling Out and What Difference Does it Make?: Whose Speech is Free?

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
Virtual Event

This event is part of “Free Expression and the Humanities,” a series jointly sponsored by PEN America and the Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures at the University of Virginia. Participants: Marlene L. Daut, Professor & Associate Director, Carter G. Woodson Institute, UVA Meredith D. Clark, Assistant Professor, Media Studies, UVA Tamika Carey, Associate … Read More

Banned Book Club: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

8:00 am – 5:30 pm EDT
244 Frazer Fir Rd., South Windsor, CT

Celebrate Banned Books Week by reading and discussing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time! We’ll also talk about why this is a “banned book.” Meet facilitator Cynde Acanto at The Pond at Barber Hill, 244 Frazer Fir Rd., South Windsor. Bring your mask & chair. Please practice social distancing. This event will … Read More

Hong Kong Against the Odds

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm PDT
Virtual Event

The Los Angeles Review of Books invites you to join us for an urgent conversation about the ongoing protest movement in Hong Kong, its place on the international stage, and where Hong Kong might go from here. Over the last 18 months, protesters have gathered in world-historic numbers to demonstrate against state violence and what they … Read More

Banned Books Trivia

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm MDT
Virtual Event

ACLU Montana, Belgrade Community Library, Bozeman Public Library, Country Bookshelf, Friends of MSU Library, and MSU Library partner to host a virtual Banned Book Trivia event.

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: September 29

We’re hitting the third day of Banned Books Week running! Don’t miss Portugal. The Man, live with NCAC and the Banned Books Week Coalition; SAGE Publishing’s conversation about COVID-19 and academic censorship, and so much more! Keep reading for details…

PORTUGAL. THE MAN, Live with Banned Books Week & NCAC!

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Coalition Against Censorship at 6:00 p.m. EDT, September 29, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with Grammy Award-winning musicians and free expression heroes Portugal. The Man! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the NCAC Facebook … Read More

COVID-19 and Academic Censorship

9:00 am – 10:00 am PDT
Virtual Event

What does censorship look like in a fully online world? Our experiences dealing with COVID-19 have increased – and in many ways complicated – interactions with open data, internet control, and e-book access. What have we learned about censorship in academia as a result? In this hour-long webinar, taking place during Banned Books Week, panelists … Read More

Banned through Comics Metadata!?

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Librarians Allison Bailund (San Diego State University), Hallie Clawson (University of Washington Information School), and Rotem Anna Diamant (Canada Comics Open Library) in conversation with Brittany Netherton (Darien Public Library) on how the metadata of comics can limit and grant access to comics. From proper crediting of creators to the details of a catalog record … Read More

Banned Books Week: Whose Voices Are Still Being Censored?

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm BST
Virtual Event

This event is FREE for all. Please register here. Banned Books Week 2020 (28 September–2 October) takes place four months after George Floyd’s murder led to a global resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and three months after the publication of the Rethinking Diversity in Publishing report, which demonstrated the particular challenges writers of colour … Read More

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: September 28

Looking for something to do today? Don’t miss the Banned Books Week Coalition’s conversation with Gene Luen Yang, a look at the Comics Code Authority and rating systems, and a look back at the life of Neal Cassady.

Gene Luen Yang, Live with Banned Books Week and NCTE!

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm CDT
BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION Virtual Event

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Council of Teachers of English at 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 28 for a special Banned Books Week Facebook Live event with author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Dragon Hoops)! During this hourlong event, Yang will converse with NCTE member leaders and … Read More

Censorship: The Comics Code Authority & Rating Systems

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Alex Cox (Image Comics) in conversation with a member of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table on the history of the Comics Code Authority and its impact on comics censorship. This discussion will also touch on how current ratings systems and library classifications can impact readership. Register here. ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table and … Read More

Presentation with Jami Cassady

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT
Virtual Event

Through stories and memorabilia from the Neal Cassady Estate, Jami Cassady will discuss the life of her father and the pivotal role that he played in the Beat Generation, the ’60s Counterculture, and 20th century literature. Register for this virtual presentation at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/regi…/2673011033281638156 You’ll receive a link to easily connect to the discussion from any … Read More

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

ALA Announces Top 100 Banned & Challenged Books of Last Decade

To kick off the 2020 edition of Banned Books week, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has unveiled the Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books for the past decade. The list features many of the most popular and acclaimed titles and writers in publishing, from Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.

For anyone who has seen OIF’s top 10 challenged books lists over the last few years, many of the titles at the top of the list will be familiar. ALA’s new list is topped by the following 20 titles:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  2. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  5. George by Alex Gino
  6. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  7. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  8. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
  9. Internet Girls (series) by Lauren Myracle
  10. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  11. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  12. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  13. I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel
  14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  15. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  16. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
  17. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  18. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  19. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
  20. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg

Many of the books on OIF’s top 100 list were targeted for LGBTQIA+ content. Alex Gino’s George, award-winning middle grade novel centered on a transgender girl, has appeared on the OIF top 10 list for four years running, topping the 2019 and 2018 lists. Gino will be joining the Banned Books Week Coalition and OIF for a special Facebook Live event on Wednesday, September 30 to talk about censorship and representation in literature. Get the details here.

Read the full list of 100 titles here. Read OIF’s press release about the top 100 list here or below.

Today, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) released the Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books from the past decade. The list’s release launches Banned Books Week, Sept. 27 – Oct. 3, a vibrant week of programming to rally readers to the cause of First Amendment protections and remind them to remain vigilant about continual threats to our freedom to read. 

Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” tops the list as the most banned and challenged book from 2010-2019. Alexie joins Toni Morrison, Alex Gino, John Green, and E. L. James as some of the most censored authors. Many of the titles on the list have also been adapted for the screen, including “Captain Underpants,” “The Hunger Games,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Hate U Give,” “The Glass Castle” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”

The list includes books challenged for a variety of reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, sexual references, religious viewpoints, content that addresses racism and police brutality, and profanity. Although the reasons differ, the censorship of literature in libraries share a common result: the violation of our First Amendment rights.  

OIF has been documenting attempts to ban books in libraries and schools since 1990. OIF compiled this list of the most banned and challenged books from 2010-2019 by reviewing both the public and confidential censorship reports it received.

This list draws attention to literary censorship but only provides a snapshot of book challenges. About 82-97% of challenges remain unreported, estimates OIF, which compared results from several independent studies of third-party FOIA requests documenting school and library book censorship with the information in its database.

This year’s Banned Books Week theme is Censorship is a Dead End. Find Your Freedom to Read. Banned Books Week is largely going virtual, as libraries, bookstores, universities, and organizations are hosting more online programs. The general public is also welcome to participate in a series of virtual activities.

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that draws attention to censorship. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media, with the focus on the following daily topics: Read a banned book (Sunday); Speak out about censorship (Monday); Create something unrestricted (Tuesday); Express the freedom to read in style (Wednesday); Write about your rights (Thursday); Watch, listen and learn from others (Friday); Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year (Saturday).

Readers are encouraged to write, tweet, or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week for the Dear Banned Author letter writing campaign.

The Banned Books Week Facebook page will offer a series of events including: 

Sept. 27, at 2 p.m. CT
Video premiere of City Lit Theater reading excerpts of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019

Sept. 30, at 1 p.m. CT 
Live Q&A about censorship and the importance of representation in literature with Alex Gino, award-winning author of the banned book “George”

Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. CT
Discussion during the watch party of “Scary Stories,” a documentary about the banned and challenged series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz, followed by a live Q&A with director Cody Meirick on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel

To arrange for interviews with library leaders and experts from OIF, contact Macey Morales, deputy director, American Library Association (ALA) Communications and Marketing Office (CMO), at (312) 280-4393 or mmorales@ala.org, or Steve Zalusky, communications specialist, ALA CMO, at (312) 280-1546 or szalusky@ala.org. Banned Books Week artwork is available at ala.org/bbooks/freedownloads

American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org. 

Happy Banned Books Week! Here Are Some Ways to Join the Fun…

Banned Books Week is finally here! We have a rundown of virtual events and the many, many ways you can participate in the celebration on social media! Censorship is a dead end — find your freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 27 – October 3!

BBW Coalition Events

Join Creator Gene Luen Yang, Live with Banned Books Week and NCTE!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Council of Teachers of English at 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 28 for a special Banned Books Week Facebook Live event with author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Dragon Hoops)! The event will broadcast live with  NCTE on Facebook. More…

PORTUGAL. THE MAN, Live with Banned Books Week & NCAC!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Coalition Against Censorship at 6:00 p.m. EDT, September 29, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with Grammy Award-winning musicians and free expression heroes Portugal. The Man! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the NCAC Facebook pageMore…

Don’t Miss Alex Gino, Live with Banned Books Week and ALA OIF!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom at 1:00 p.m. CDT, September 30, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with acclaimed and award-winning author Alex Gino! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the Banned Books Week Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/). More…

Coalition Member Events

September 27

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (ALA Facebook Live)

Books on the Chopping Block is our annual 60-minute performance of dramatic readings of short excerpts taken from these books. City Lit has teamed up with the ALA in celebration of Banned Books Week since 2006, performing at special events, libraries and bookstores in and around Chicago…and virtually this year. More…

September 28

Censorship: The Comics Code Authority & Rating Systems

Alex Cox (Image Comics) in conversation with a member of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table on the history of the Comics Code Authority and its impact on comics censorship. This discussion will also touch on how current ratings systems and library classifications can impact readership. Register here. More…

September 29

COVID-19 and Academic Censorship

On Sept. 29, SAGE Publishing and OIF will host the free webinar “COVID-19 and Academic Censorship,” which will address e-books, internet control, and open data. The free webinar is limited to the first 1,000 guests. Register here. More…

Banned through Comics Metadata!?

Librarians Allison Bailund (San Diego State University), Hallie Clawson (University of Washington Information School), and Rotem Anna Diamant (Canada Comics Open Library) in conversation with Brittany Netherton (Darien Public Library) on how the metadata of comics can limit and grant access to comics. From proper crediting of creators to the details of a catalog record – comics metadata creates access. Moderated by Brittany Netherton, Head of Knowledge and Learning Services, Darien Library. Register here. More…

September 30

Black People in Comics

Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet, X-Factor), Johnnie Christmas (Tartatus, Sheltered) and Chuck Brown (Bitter Root) in a conversation on how Black people have been historically portrayed in comics, from the obstacles of integrating Black characters into mainstream and superhero comics to present day works, issues Black creators face working in the comics industry, and the importance of non-white characters existing on the comics page. Moderated by Tamela Chambers, Librarian and Public Library Chair the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). Register here. More…

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (DePaul University)

Books on the Chopping Block is our annual 60-minute performance of dramatic readings of short excerpts taken from these books. City Lit has teamed up with the ALA in celebration of Banned Books Week since 2006, performing at special events, libraries and bookstores in and around Chicago…and virtually this year. More…

October 1

(Un)Welcome to the Comics Industry

It’s not just libraries that have banned comics – sometimes it’s the comics industry itself. Chloe Ramos (Image Comics) and other panelists in conversation with Dan Wood (Escondido Public Library) will discuss how harassment serves as a form of censorship within the industry by creating unsafe and unwelcoming environments, and how awareness of these issues is important for librarians to understand. Register here. More…

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (Mount Prospect Library)

Celebrate your freedom to read by joining us for a virtual presentation of dramatic readings by City Lit Theater Company featuring the American Library Association’s list of top 10 most challenged books of 2019. City Lit has performed this annual event since 2006 and is excited to showcase these books and to engage with you about censorship and the freedom to read during a Q&A session following the readings. More…

October 2

Watch Party: “Scary Stories” Documentary

On Oct. 2, OIF will host a national watch party of “Scary Stories,” a documentary about the banned and challenged series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz, followed by a Q&A with director Cody Meirick on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel. Libraries and readers are invited to stream the documentary on Tubi or Amazon Prime at 6 p.m. CST and join the conversation on Twitter using #CensorshipisScary or on the Facebook event page. Libraries are invited to host their own watch parties as a Banned Books Week program; more details are available at ala.org/bbooks/scarystories.

Comics: “Are These Real Books?”

Charles Soule (Undiscovered Country, Daredevil) in conversation with Matthew Noe (GNCRT President-Elect) on why comics so often wind up on annual most challenged books lists, what comics are most often challenged, and what you can do to overcome negative opinions of comics. Register here. More…

Celebrate on Social Media

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables here. More…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

PORTUGAL. THE MAN, Live with Banned Books Week & NCAC!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Coalition Against Censorship at 6:00 p.m. EDT, September 29, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with Grammy Award-winning musicians and free expression heroes Portugal. The Man! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the NCAC Facebook page

In early 2020, Portugal. The Man joined the protest when the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough School Board, which oversees schools in the band’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, voted to remove five classic novels — I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien — from the 11th grade reading list. Through their charitable non-profit, PTM Foundation, Portugal. The Man helped provide thousands of copies of the banned books to students in the district.

During this hourlong livestream, we’ll talk with Portugal. The Man about why they took action, the role of communities in fighting censorship, and the importance of access to information. We’ll close with a short Q&A. The event will be moderated by Nora Pelizzari (Director of Communications, NCAC) and Betsy Gomez (Coordinator, Banned Books Week Coalition).

How will this work?

  1. Make sure you like the National Coalition Against Censorship on Facebook.
  2. At 6:00 p.m. EDT on September 29, go to Facebook and look at the News Feed.
  3. Click Watch in the Navigation Panel on the left. (Click See More if you don’t see Watch in the list.)
  4. After clicking Watch, click Live in the Navigation Panel on the left.

You can also go directly to facebook.com/live to access Facebook livestreams or the video section of NCAC’s Facebook page to access the event.

About PORTUGAL. THE MAN

Portugal. The Man took 2017 by the horns after a considerably long gap between records. They spent years working on an album called Gloomin + Doomin before later developing what would become known as their latest studio album WOODSTOCK. Fate struck lead singer John Gourley twice. First, John got some parental tough love from his old man. “What’s taking so long to finish the album?” John’s dad asked. “Isn’t that what bands do? Write songs and then put them out?” The whole thing got John thinking about why the band seemed to be stuck on a musical elliptical machine from hell and more importantly, about how to get off of it. Second, John found his dad’s ticket stub from the original 1969 Woodstock music festival, which ultimately knocked something loose in his head. He realized that, in the same tradition of bands from that era, Portugal. The Man needed to speak out about the world crumbling around them.

With these two ideas converging, the band made a seemingly bat-shit-crazy decision: they took all of the work they had done for the three years prior and threw it out. The band went back to the studio — working with John Hill, Danger Mouse and longtime collaborator Casey Bates. In this new-found creative territory, the album that became WOODSTOCK rolled out naturally from there. Fast forward to present day and it was impossible to escape the album’s first single, “Feel It Still,” which dominated the charts and radio airwaves in 2017. The 4X Platinum Certified hit reigned at #1 at nearly all radio formats, including Top 40, as well as Alternative, where the song held the chart’s top spot for a mind-blowing 20 weeks, breaking the record for most weeks at #1. Yes, you read that right. Five guys from Wasilla, Alaska, who have played nearly 1,500 shows in their career, broke Alternative radio records and had a #1 song at Pop radio. Billboard Magazine even went as far as to call the song “the unexpected rock crossover hit of 2017,” while Rolling Stone listed it as “one of the best songs of 2017.” AND THEN…the band kicked off 2018 by winning a GRAMMY Award for “Feel It Still.”

About the PTM Foundation

PTM Foundation is focused on building community resilience, empathy, and awareness through music, stories, art, education and connectivity. They aim to convene and organize partnerships and projects informed by community need, then mobilize Portugal. The Man’s listeners and supporters around that shared vision.

While their advocacy, philanthropy, and community engagement work is primarily centered around universal issues related to human rights, community health, and the environment, this organization puts a specific focus on highlighting the stories of Indigenous Peoples, and they are committed to helping bring these sacred voices — often the most informed, yet silenced among us — to the forefront.

About the National Coalition Against Censorship

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) promotes freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression and opposes censorship in all its forms. Since 1974, NCAC has engaged in direct advocacy, education, research and analysis to support the principles of the First Amendment. A coalition of over 50 national non-profits, NCAC’s alliance includes literary, artistic, education, and civil liberties groups. NCAC is national in scope, but often local in their approach, engaging with a nationwide network of advocates and supporting local activism. NCAC works with community members to resolve censorship controversies without the need for litigation.

About the Banned Books Week Coalition

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. 

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Join Creator Gene Luen Yang, Live with Banned Books Week and NCTE!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Council of Teachers of English at 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 28 for a special Banned Books Week Facebook Live event with author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Dragon Hoops)!

During this hourlong event, Yang will converse with NCTE member leaders Henry “Cody” Miller and Jung Kim, as well as moderators Lisa Fink (NCTE) and Karen Evans (Education Coordinator, CBLDF) about the censorship of his work, examine the importance of diverse literature, and discuss the use of comics in classrooms. You’ll have a chance to ask your questions during a short Q&A. (We will try to get to as many of your questions as we can!)

How will this work?

  1. Make sure you like NCTE on Facebook.
  2. At 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 28, go to Facebook and look at the News Feed.
  3. Click Watch in the Navigation Panel on the left. (Click See More if you don’t see Watch in the list.)
  4. After clicking Watch, click Live in the Navigation Panel on the left.

You can also go directly to facebook.com/live to access Facebook livestreams or the video section of NCTE’s Facebook page to access the event.

About Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’ fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocated for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second Books, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the L.A. Times Book Prize and was also a National Book Award Finalist. His other works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), New Super-Man (with various artists), Superman Smashes the Klan (with Gurihiru), the Avatar: The Last Airbender series (with Gurihiru), and Dragon Hoops. In 2016, Yang was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

About Henry “Cody” Miller

Henry “Cody” Miller is an assistant professor of English education at SUNY Brockport. He is a former high school English teacher. Cody currently acts as the chair of the National Council of Teachers of English LGBTQ advisory board.

About Jung Kim

Jung Kim, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Literacy, mother, ultrarunner, 1.5 generation Korean American, and #AsAmAF. A former high school English teacher and literacy coach, she writes about Asian American teachers, graphic novels, and equity. Her second co-authored book on teaching with graphic novels, Using Graphic Novels in the English Language Arts Classroom, is out from Bloomsbury Press on October 1.

About NCTE

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) supports teachers and their students in classrooms, on college campuses, and in online learning environments. For more than 100 years, NCTE has worked with its members to offer journals, publications, and resources; to further the voice and expertise of educators as advocates for their students at the local and federal levels; and to share lesson ideas, research, and teaching strategies through its Annual Convention and other professional learning events.

About the Banned Books Week Coalition

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. 

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Don’t Miss Alex Gino, Live with Banned Books Week and ALA OIF!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom at 1:00 p.m. CDT, September 30, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with acclaimed and award-winning author Alex Gino! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the Banned Books Week Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/). 

Gino’s award-winning middle grade novel George led ALA OIF’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books lists for 2019 and 2018, and it also appeared on the lists for 2017 and 2016. The book has been challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy, for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character, for sexual references, and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint.

Over the course of the hour, we’ll converse about the censorship of Gino’s work and LGBTQIA+ materials and events, examine the importance of identity and representation in literature, and give you a chance to ask your questions during a short Q&A. The event will be moderated by Peter Coyl (he / him; Director, Montclair Public Library) and Betsy Gomez (she / her; Coordinator, Banned Books Week Coalition).

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/663860084262826

About Alex Gino (they / them)

Alex Gino is author of middle grade novels Rick, You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! and the Stonewall Award-winning George. They love glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. Born and raised on Staten Island, NY, they now enjoy living in Oakland, CA. 

George (Scholastic, 2015)

  • 4 starred reviews: Booklist, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal
  • Winner of: Lambda Literary Award, Stonewall Award (American Library Association), Children’s Choice Book Awards Debut Author, Juvenile California Book Award

BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all. GEORGE is a candid, genuine, and heartwarming middle grade about a transgender girl who is, to use Charlotte’s word, R-A-D-I-A-N-T!

Rick (Scholastic, 2020)

  • 4 starred reviews: Booklist, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal

The story of a kid named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend.

Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.

But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that … understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.

As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world … and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be.

About ALA OIF

Established December 1, 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries. 

About the Banned Books Week Coalition

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. 

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

City Lit Theater Spotlights Books on the Chopping Block

Chicago’s City Lit Theater is teaming with the American Library Association for Books on the Chopping Block, a series of virtual events featuring dramatic readings from banned and challenged books. Keep reading to check out the trailer for the series!

Three virtual events are scheduled so far:

  • American Library Association Facebook Live Event: Sunday, September 27, at 2:00 p.m. CDT
  • DePaul University: Wednesday, September 30, at 1:00 p.m. CDT
  • Mount Prospect Library: Tuesday, October 1, at 7:00 p.m. CDT (pre-recorded)

There’s still time to take part in the series, so if you are a library and would like to host an online performance, please contact City Lit’s Katy Nielsen at knielsen@citylit.org

City Lit and ALA have partnered on this celebration of Banned Books Week since 2006, with special events, libraries, and bookstores in and around Chicago in previous years. “Our focus is literate theatre, so we are naturally concerned by attempts to keep books away from people,” say City Lit Artistic Director Terry McCabe. “We are privileged to continue our alliance with the ALA in this important work.”

Find out more about Books on the Chopping Block here.

Find Your Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week 2020!

In turbulent times, books are tools that help people navigate the world around them. Intellectual freedom and access to information uplift people in crisis and during more peaceful times, so the Banned Books Week Coalition invites you to champion the right to read during Banned Books Week, September 27 – October 3, 2020! 

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 22, for a special Facebook Live conversation about the 2020 theme and censorship with Laurie Halse Anderson (author of the frequently challenged novel Speak) and an exclusive statement from David Levithan (author of the challenged novel Two Boys Kissing)! https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has helped people recognize and navigate censorship, and the battle for free expression is unending. Reading brings people together, but censorship drives us apart. The theme of this year’s event, “Censorship Is a Dead End,” is a reminder that we need to fight censorship to “Find Our Freedom to Read.” This year’s celebration embraces a maze motif, an attainable and customizable idea that offers publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and others an opportunity to engage with their communities in a variety of ways, from passive programing to big events.

In recognition of National Library Week (April 19 – 25, 2020), the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released their list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019. This list highlights the ways in which curtailing reading materials makes the world smaller. In 2019, ALA tracked nearly 377 attempts to censor library, school, and university materials and services, encompassing 566 books that were challenged or banned. The list includes books that can help readers, especially young people, understand and navigate tough situations, such as George by Alex Gino; Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin; Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth; I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas; and Drama by Raina Telgemeier. 

“Books can help young people and readers of all ages explore worlds, lives, and experiences beyond their own,” says Nora Pelizzari, director of communications for the National Coalition Against Censorship. “This exploration is crucial in learning to think critically and independently and to navigate ourselves through life. Limiting access to ideas hurts everyone, and particularly students. Banned Books Week gives us a chance to champion the diverse ideas books let us explore.”

Libraries and schools aren’t the only institutions impacted by censorship, and Banned Books Week is an opportunity for many to engage their communities in a conversation about attempts to stifle creativity. 

According to David Grogan, director for American Booksellers for Free Expression, the bookseller’s voice for free expression, “Banned Books Week is one of the most important events of the year for independent booksellers. It provides booksellers a crucial opportunity to promote conversations about controversial books. Customers are often surprised to hear that book banning still continues to this day, and Banned Books Week is a tremendous way to highlight the importance of the freedom to read.”

Find your freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 27 – October 3, 2020! The Banned Books Week Coalition is here to support your celebration of reading, with programming ideas, promotional materials, and other resources! Visit https://bannedbooksweek.org/ or follow @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter to get the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news. 

Learn more about the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019 at ala.org/bbooks/top and the issues facing America’s libraries at http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2020

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. 

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Website: https://bannedbooksweek.org/

Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek 

Find Your Freedom to Read Instagram: @banned_books_week

Events Spotlight: September 28

It’s the last day of Banned Books Week, and we’re blowing it out in style! Lots of Drag Queen Story Hour, including Coalition-sponsored events in San Francisco and New York City; a look at the censorship faced by international cartoonists; George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four at 70; and so much more!

Coalition Events

ENDS TODAY: Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 22-28), readers are encouraged to write (or tweet) to banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

Speaking out for banned and challenged books is vital in the fight against censorship. This webpage includes resources and ideas on participating in the Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign and hosting letter-writing programs.

Get Involved

  • Write a letter to a banned and challenged author, telling them about a favorite title or how their words have impacted you. Use these Banned & Challenged Author Addresses.
  • Host a letter-writing program at your library or school, bringing writing supplies and a list of author addresses. Use these Tips for Hosting Programs.
  • Reach out to a favorite banned or challenged author by tagging them on Twitter and sharing your story using #DearBannedAuthor. Use these Tips for Tweeting.
  • Share your #DearBannedAuthor story on Twitter for a chance to win Banned Books Week merchandise! Learn more about the Dear Banned Author Drawing and read the Official Rules before entering.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

ENDS TODAY: #BannedTogether with Penguin Random House

This Banned Books Week, Penguin Random House is thrilled to #BannedTogether.

Read to fight censorship! For every Penguin Random House book you purchase during Banned Books week, PRH will donate $1 to the American Booksellers Association for Freedom of Expression Fund (up to $20,000 donation).

To participate, simply purchase a PRH book during Banned Books Week (9/22-9/28) and log your purchase into your Reader Rewards account. Not a member yet? Join free here.

While the book must be purchased from 9/22-9/28 to count towards a donation, you have until 9/30 to log your purchase. If your purchase is not eligible for Reader Rewards, we will still count it towards the donation. Email readerrewards@penguinrandomhouse.com and we’ll take care of you.

1984 at 70: How Has Orwell’s Vision Aged?

Wigtown Book Festival, Wigtown, Scotland, United Kingdom • 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm BST

It is 70 years since George Orwell published 1984. So how do our political and personal landscapes today compare to Orwell’s dystopia? And can the book shed light on today’s data-driven security and surveillance society? Our panel: Dorian Lynskey, author of The Ministry of Truth, an acclaimed new biography of 1984; award-winning foreign affairs writer David Pratt; and Julia Farrington of Index on Censorship. Chaired by Magnus Linklater.This is a Banned Books Week event in partnership with the British Library, Booksellers Association, English PEN, Free Word, Hachette UK, Index on Censorship, Islington Council’s Library and Heritage Service, Libraries Connected, The Publishers Association and The Royal Society of Literature. Find out more »

Banned Books Story Hour 2019

Bookmans Mesa, Messa, AZ • 10:00 am – 11:00 am MST

Something banned this way comes! Join Drag Story Hour- Arizona at Bookmans Mesa for a story hour hosted by Felicia Minor and Freddy Prinze Charming. Let’s love all banned books and celebrate the growth of Drag Queen Story Hours in the face of challenge. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Bezazian Branch, Chicago, IL • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Forbidden Tales: Censorship and Society

Asia Society, New York, NY • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT

Through Fire (Books that Survived the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance at Tsinghua University No.2), 2017. Oil on canvas. H. 48 x W. 74 in. (122 x 188 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Chambers Fine Art. Photograph courtesy of the artist

Xiaoze Xie will discuss his research into the history of censorship in China that inspired the current exhibition Xiaoze Xie: Objects of Evidence. The artist will be joined by noted experts on the subject of censorship Martin Heijdra, Princeton University, and James Tager, PEN America in a panel led by Michelle Yun, Asia Society Museum Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

The program is organized in conjunction with Banned Books Week, September 22-28, 2019.

The program is free and registration is required. Register hereFind out more »

CRNI and the Current Free-Speech Situation Facing the World

Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main Library (Auditorium), Columbus, OH • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT

Over the years CRNI has become a fixture at the annual conventions of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), which this year takes place as part of the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus Festival (CXC). We are enormously grateful to the organizers from both events for an opportunity to highlight issues facing cartoonists around the world with a panel discussion open to the public. Our panelists are:

  • Terry Anderson (UK), Deputy Executive Director, CRNI
  • Charles Brownstein (USA), Executive Director, CBLDF
  • Ritu Gairola Khanduri (India/USA), Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, University of Texas and Board of Directors, CRNI
  • PX Molina (Nicaragua), cartoonist, CRNI Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award-winner 2018
  • Ann Telnaes (Norway/USA), cartoonist, former AAEC President, CRNI advisor
  • Zunar (Malaysia), cartoonist, CRNI Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award-winner 2011

Find out more »

Drag Queen Story Hour Celebrates Banned Books Week

St John’s Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT

Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real. Find out more »

Banned Books Week x Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco!

The Bindery, San Francisco, CA • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm PDT

What better way to celebrate Banned Books Week than with Drag Queen Story Hour! The Banned Books Week Coalition presents this special event on September 28 at The Bindery (1727 Haight Street, San Francisco), The Booksmith’s multi-purpose events space. Join some of San Francisco’s most glamorous drag queens as they read challenged and banned picture books to entertain children of all ages! Doors will open at 2:00 p.m., with the reading to start at 2:30 p.m.The event is free and open to the public, but priority will be given to parents with their children. Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: BANNED BOOKS WEEK(END) AT DEEP VELLUM

Deep Vellum Books, Dallas, TX • 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm CDT

Join Deep Vellum Publishing and Books on Saturday, September 28 to celebrate banned and challenged books from around the world. This event will feature literary karaoke of banned titles, including The Poetry Project’s BREAK OUT reading by an incarcerated writer, a screening of Phoneme Media’s short film Kilómetro Cero about the persecuted Equitorial Guinean writer Marcelo Ensemo Nsang, literary crafts, and a giveaway featuring challenged books from Deep Vellum and Phoneme’s catalog. Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: BANNED BOOKS WEEK OPEN MIC

BookBar, Denver, CO • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm MDT

Join BookBar on Saturday, September 28 to celebrate banned and challenged books from around the world. In honor of Banned Books Week 2019, the event will feature an open mic for readings of banned books. Bring your favorite banned book or pick one up and read a 2-3 minute passage! This event is free and open to the public. Find out more »

Other Events

Drag Queen Story Hour — Vermont

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. EDT, Milton Public Library (39 Bombardier Rd, Milton, Vermont)

Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne, two of Vermont’s favorite drag queens, are bringing Drag Queen Story Hour to Milton! The queens will be sure to delight and captivate audience members of all ages as they share stories focused on individuality, activism, gender, creativity, expression, and social responsibility.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/468250954010163/

Drag Queen Story Hour — Los Angeles

9:30 – 10:30 a.m. PDT, Eagle Rock Branch – Los Angeles Public Library (5027 Caspar Ave., Los Angeles, California)

Presented in Partnership with Home Sweet Huddy and Compass, a real estate team!

DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR is exactly what it sounds like! Drag Queens reading stories to kids in Libraries, Schools and Bookstores the like! Bring your kids to a magical hour dedicated to literacy, love, acceptance and joy! All the magic of drag with the fun of storytime! Come early to make some crafts!!! With PICKLE!

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1362065963956135/

Drag Queen Story Hour — Connecticut

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT, Hartford Public Library (500 Main St, Hartford, Connecticut)

Hartford Public Library presents our very first Drag Queen Story Hour! Drag Queen Story Hour is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. Its goal? To inspire a love of reading, while teaching deeper lessons on diversity, self-love and an appreciation of others. This fun all-ages event features local drag queens Giganta Smalls and Robin Fierce reading children’s stories and a crown-making craft at our very own library.

We will host two story hour sessions. Guests are welcome to come to either story hour, or stay for both!

Storytime Schedule:
1:00 p.m. — Story Hour with Giganta Smalls, followed by a craft
2:30 p.m. — Story Hour with Robin Fierce, followed by a craft in the Center for Contemporary Culture

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/432897020655800/

Drag Queen Story Hour with Kearney Pride 2019

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. CDT, Harmon Park (3100 5th Ave., Kearney, Nebraska)

Adding a little pizzazz and sparkle to afternoon’s favorite past time…STORY TIME! Join Mrs. Yuka Layme for Drag Queen Story Time, the children’s storytelling event that has been sweeping the nation! The event is brought to you in partnership with Kearney Pride Walk/Festival 2019 & PFLAG Kearney. Our FIRST is Kearney Nebraska! Readings of your favorite (and maybe some new) stories by: Lucy Roxia

Keep your eye on an update to our exact location at Pride.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/388278792092101/

Celebrate fREADdom
Woodford Co. Library, Main Branch, Versailles, KY • 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT

12:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Adults and teens) Drop in for our Banned Book Week finale to learn more about the history of literary censorship, banned books-themed trivia, a “mugshot” photo booth, book-inspired refreshments and more! Find out more »

Banned Books for Incarcerated Readers Drive
Firestorm Books & Coffee, Asheville, NC • 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT

Firestorm Books & Coffee is partnering with Asheville Prison Books (APB) to celebrate Banned Books Week with a book drive for incarcerated readers. Drop by the co-operative on Saturday afternoon and buy a banned or challenged book to donate to APB and Firestorm will match your gift with a second donated book! Find out more »

Banned Book Fest
Fairview Park Public Library, Fairview Park, OH • 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm CDT
Banned Book Fest

Come celebrate Banned Book Week with us through a board game, edible banned book contest, and related crafts. Find out more »

Banned Books Week Celebration at One More Page Books
One More Page Books, Arlington, VA • 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EDT

Every year, we’re excited to join book lovers from across Virginia to celebrate the freedom to read and call attention to the wealth of creativity that is stifled when books are forbidden from library shelves. This year’s Banned Books Week is from Sept. 22 – Sept. 28, but the fight for intellectual freedom takes place every day in every county in Virgina. To keep up the spirit of Banned Books Week, join us at One More Page Books. Find out more »

11 Challenged and Banned Plays and Musicals

Books aren’t the only thing we celebrate during Banned Books Week. We also celebrate plays and musicals that have drawn the ire of censors. Let’s take a look at a few of the performances that have been attacked…

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee 

by William Finn and Rachel Sheinken

A performance of The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Hyattsville Middle School in Maryland was cancelled about a week before it was supposed to start, ostensibly because teachers in the school raised concerns about the use of profanity, sexual innuendo, and racial humor in the play. Students were performing a slightly modified version of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, in which the song “My Unfortunate Erection,” has been changed “My Unfortunate Distraction,” and school officials contended that licensing agency MTI wouldn’t allow further changes to remove offensive language. But the cancellation may not be as clear-cut as officials claim. Reporters who contacted MTI were informed that the agency had allowed such changes in the past. Further, there were rumors that the play had actually been cancelled because one of the characters has two dads. After the cancellation gained national attention, the school relented and allowed the performance to go on.

American Idiot

by Michael Mayer and Billie Joe Armstrong

In early 2016, the Enfield, Connecticut, high school cancelled a production of the rock opera American Idiot. The Lamplighters student drama club was well into the planning stages had even held preliminary auditions, and faculty advisor Nate Ferreira was also in the process of editing the original (with the permission of MTI) to produce a “modified script and production notes [which] maintain the integrity of the show, while removing profanity and the more adult scenarios in the original Broadway production.” Unfortunately, some members of Lamplighters would be barred by their parents from participating in the production. Together with EHS principal Andrew Longey, Ferreira made the decision to call off “a show that most of the kids were extremely excited about” so that everyone who wanted to participate would be able to do so. The group opted to perform Little Shop of Horrors instead.

And Then Came Tango

Arguing it was “the best thing for our community”, the Sierra Foothill Charter School near Fresno, California, cancelled a showing of the play And Then Came Tango. Based on the story of a pair of male penguins that raise a chick (which also inspired a bestselling and frequently challenged children’s picture book), the play put on by Fresno State’s Theatre for Young Adults was initially shown at the anti-censorship conference Outlawed: The Naked Truth About Censored Literature for Young People. The school board voted unanimously to cancel the play after parent protest.

Cabaret

by John Kander and Fred Ebb

Parents at a Catholic school in the San Fernando Valley campaigned against the performance of the musical Cabaret, calling the award-winning musical “vulgar” and claiming it “would subject these children to performing acts of grave indecency, immodesty, immorality, and homosexual behavior on the stage.” The school principal stood behind the performance, arguing it would benefit students.

Calendar Girls

by Tim Firth

In May 2019, a performance of Calendar Girls at the Carrollton Center for the Arts in Carrollton, Texas, was cancelled due to the “implication of nudity.” “This is a conservative town, a conservative mayor and council, and we are not comfortable having our name on this production,” City Manager Time Grizzard told WLBB radio. “I understand that it is not in any way pornographic. I know there’s no actual nudity involved. It just has the appearance of that sort of thing. It just sends a message that we are not comfortable having our name on.” City officials did say they would allow the performance to happen independently, but it would have required finding sponsors and paying to use the theater space. While that funding was ostensibly available, the group behind the performance elected not to do it in fear that they might upset city officials and put future productions at risk. Carrollton officials have a track record of canceling plays they think racy; they had previously cancelled a performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 2011.

Legally Blonde

by Heather Hach, Nell Benjamine, Laurence O’Keefe

An Ohio high school fired Sonja Hansen after she directed and choreographed a well-attended production of the musical Legally Blonde. Students were permitted to finish the run of Legally Blonde, which reportedly received standing ovations, but Hansen was reprimanded by the administration for allegedly “going against the school’s code of conduct.” Principal Christopher Kloesz allegedly cited “bootie-bounce dance moves” and the use of the word “skank” as reasons for the punishment.

The Producers

by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan

A high school in Orangetown, New York, decided to remove all swastikas from a performance of The Producers, a satirical musical about Adolf Hitler. A small group of parents had complained about the offensive imagery, and Superintendent Bob Pritchard responded by requiring the removal of all swastikas from the set. “There is no context in a public high school where a swastika is appropriate,” he said. “The optic, the visual, to me was very disturbing. I considered it to be an obscenity like any obscenity.”

Rent

by Jonathan Larson

A 2014 production of Rent was cancelled by the first-year principal at Trumbull High School in Trumbull Connecticut after complaints over “sensitive” and “controversial” content. The young thespians were performing a version of the Tony Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical that had been adapted for younger performers with the permission of the Larson estate and did not include the song “Contact,” which describes sexual activity. Students themselves pushed back against the cancellation to no avail.

Spamalot

by Eric Idle and John Du Prez

In 2014, the South Williamsport Area School District in Pennsylvania cancelled a planned production of Monty Python’s Spamalot due to “homosexual themes,” and then fired drama teacher Dawn Burch in apparent retaliation for speaking out in protest.

Sweeney Todd

by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler

A Timberline Regional High School production of Sweeney Todd was cancelled in 2014 after administrators deemed parts of the play unacceptable. “We were uncomfortable with the script and agreed that this was not the right time or place for the performance,” said Superintendent Earl Metzler. The censorship went beyond the play. Students made a Facebook page in protest, but Metzler said much of what was written on it was “beyond disrespectful and rude, as well as illegal” and advised the creator to delete the page.

Twelfth Night

by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare’s play about a young woman who disguises herself as a man was banned in a New Hampshire school system due to a rule that called for the “prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction.”

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund maintains The Defender, a database of dramatic works that have been challenged or censored in the United States. Find more banned plays and musicals here.

 

Events Spotlight: September 27

With just one day left of Banned Books Week, there’s no slowing down! We have webinars with Lilah Sturges (Lumberjanes) and David F. Walker (Bitter Root), trivia at the Kurt Vonnegut Library, screenprinting, cosplay, and so much more!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Coalition Events

Webinar: Addressing Identity Censorship

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm PDT

Identity censorship is the most frequent form of intellectual freedom challenge in today’s environment.  From moral panic about Drag Queen Story Hour to frequent challenges to LGBTQ+ comics, books, and authors, this disturbing trend is gaining traction. CBLDF engages a panel of experts to help you identify and intelligently address this growing problem.  In the past year, CBLDF has participated in defending challenges and bans of books solely because they contain LGBTQ+ characters, curriculum rejected because it focused on LGBTQ+ titles, and community programs canceled solely because program participants identify as LGBTQ+.  In this webinar, we will speak with individuals who’ve been on the front lines of this issue to identify the contours of the problem and discuss strategies for managing it.  In addition to receiving CBLDF’s “Fighting Identity Censorship Toolkit,” all webinar participants are invited to share their own stories and receive face-to-face expert advice on managing identity censorship issues. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Access Issues: Privatization & Gatekeeping

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

David F. Walker (BITTER ROOT) in conversation with Ray James (IFRT Coalition Building Committee) about how privatization impacts access, particularly as it relates to prison libraries, as (most) US prisons are privatized and how this impacts inmate access to information. This discussion will also touch on how gatekeeping and biases (of librarians, prison staff, the public) affect access for this vulnerable population. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

DePaul University Library, Chicago, IL • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

First Amendment Trivial Pursuit

Kurt Vonnegut Museum, Indianapolis, IN • 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EDT

Win prizes by showing your freedom of speech and banned book knowledge at Trivia Night with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)! Find out more »

DALLAS: Banned Together

Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Dallas, TX • 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm CDT

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theatre. The Dallas regional production will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts).

Banned Together, which takes place annually during PEN America’s Banned Books Week, is open to the public and free to attend. Reservations are encouraged, as we have limited capacity and this helps us anticipate audience size and plan accordingly. However, we may be able to accommodate those without an Eventbrite reservation on a first come, first served basis, pending remaining capacity and availability on the day. Find out more »

Other Events

Banned Books “Read Out” at Central Washington University
Central Washington University SURC, Ellensburg, WA • 11:00 am – 1:00 pm PDT

Free! Celebrate your freedom to read during Banned Books week.  Join in our Banned Books “read-out” and stop by our table at the SURC Pit to pick up information, bookmarks and buttons, provided by Brooks Library. Find out more »

Shirt and Patch Screenprinting
Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, NC • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT

Come screenprint your own tee or patch to spotlight Banned Books Week! We’ll have fabric for patches, but BYOT (bring your own tee)! Ages 11+ Find out more »

Freedom to Read Week: Banned Books Jeopardy
Scaleybark Branch, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, NC • 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm EDT

Come and join us for an evening of trivia, as we celebrate Freedom to Read Week! Test your knowledge of the most frequently challenged books. Then decorate a tote bag with your favorite quote from a banned book. Support Freedom of Expression and fashionably rock your reading uncensored! Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS COSPLAY and READ OUT
Mancos Public Library, Mancos, CO • 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm MDT

Get creative and join us at the Mancos Public Library for a Banned Books Cosplay Event! Dress up as your favorite character from a banned or challenged book! Read aloud from your favorite banned or challenged book! Discuss your personal feelings about the books you read and why you feel it is important to be heard! Find out more »

Banned Books Reading 2019 – Phoenix
The Alwun House, Phoenix, AZ • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

The Arizona LGBT+ History Project will be hosting it’s 2nd annual Banned Books Reading on Friday, September 27, at the Alwun House 1204 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006 This will be a very special Adult story time that focuses on the problem of book censorship, in conjunction with events like this happening across the country. Come participate in an evening of laughter while exercising our right of liberty and emancipation! Find out more »

11 Challenged and Banned Comics

Comics are one of the most commonly attacked types of books, with challenges and bans happening every year. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and several other members of the Banned Books Week Coalition defend comics from censorship. Here’s a look at some of the titles they’ve worked to protect.

Find out more about these challenged and banned comics and other censored titles at http://cbldf.org

Assassination Classroom

Yusei Matsui (VIZ Media, 2014)

In early 2019, Assassination Classroom was pulled from a school library on Staten Island over parental objections to its title and themes. The book’s removal runs contrary to New York City Department of Education guidelines. The manga is currently pending review by an evaluation committee and is unavailable to readers who may find insight and enjoyment in its pages.

The series follows a group of misfit students, who pledge to stop an alien supervillain disguised as a teacher from destroying the world. The series uses comedy and superhero tropes to emphasize the values of camaraderie among students and the impact that good teaching can have in the lives of pupils others have discarded.

Drama

Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic / Graphix, 2012)

Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, a graphic novel about the joys and tribulations of a middle school drama troupe, received universal critical praise upon its publication in 2012. Although most readers found Drama to be just as endearing and authentic as Telgemeier’s previous books, Smile and Sisters, a small but vocal minority have objected to the inclusion of two gay characters, one of whom shares a chaste on-stage kiss with another boy. The book was listed among the country’s top ten most banned books in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006)

Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic examines the author’s childhood, particularly her relationship with her closeted gay father Bruce. As Alison grows older and realizes that she is a lesbian, she and Bruce are both forced to confront how his repression may have affected her own self-image and the way that she dealt with her sexuality. The book has been included on numerous best-of lists and earned the National Book Critics Circle Award and awards such as the Eisner, the Stonewall Book Award, the GLAAD Media Award, and the Lambda Literary Award (lesbian memoir and biography). It was also adapted into a Tony Award–winning musical. Despite these extraordinary accolades, Fun Home has been singled out for bans and challenges in colleges, public libraries, and high schools. It was also targeted by the South Carolina legislature and in a New Jersey lawsuit.

The Graveyard Book

Adapted by P. Craig Russell from the novel by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, 2014)

In 2015, CBLDF successfully defended the graphic novel edition of The Graveyard Book from a middle school library ban for violent imagery. P. Craig Russell’s graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Medal-winning prose novel tells the story of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by ghosts, and his adventures through the graveyard where he lives. Publishers Weekly called it “a vastly entertaining adaptation… It’s a treasure worth having even if the novel is already on the shelf.”

Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass

By Lilah Sturges and polterink (BOOM! Studios, 2018)

In summer 2019, an event with author and transgender rights advocate Lilah Sturges was canceled just two hours before she was scheduled to talk about Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass at Leander Public Library in Texas. The city gave inadequate reasons, claiming temporary changes to library event policies, as well as the lack of a previously undiscussed background check. CBLDF led an immediate effort to reverse the cancelation, which a local news outlet confirmed is likely an act of discrimination against Sturges and the LGBTQ+ community. This is the second recent incident of identity censorship in Leander, following a June ban on Drag Queen Story Hour.

Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon, 2007)

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir of growing up during the Iranian Revolution, has received international acclaim since its initial publication in French. Although it was certainly controversial in the Middle East, there were no publicly reported challenges or bans of the book in U.S. schools or libraries until March 2013, when Chicago Public Schools administrators abruptly pulled it from some classrooms.

A cascade of bans and challenges followed, landing the book in the second spot on the American Library Association’s Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books for 2014. In 2015, a 20-year-old college student and her parents said the book should be “eradicated from the system” at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California. CBLDF stood up for the book numerous times in these cases and others, leading to its successful retention in most.

Stuck in the Middle

Edited by Ariel Schrag (Viking Juvenile, 2007)

Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Stories from an UNPLEASANT Age is an anthology of stories about the challenges of early teen years, with contributions from Daniel Clowes, Dash Shaw, Gabrielle Bell, Lauren Weinstein, and more. Praised by Booklist, The New York Times, and Publishers Weekly, it was also selected for New York Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age” list in 2008. The book has been banned in multiple communities. Most recently, an Oklahoma middle school pulled the book from library shelves after one parent called it “trash” and complained of vulgarities, sexual references, and drug use in some of the stories, without noting that those references are there to address real-life problems facing teens.

Sword Art Online: Aincrad

Reki Kawahara and abec (Yen Press, 2017)

CBLDF took the lead in defending the manga Sword Art Online: Aincrad after it was challenged at a middle school in Jerome, Idaho, where the book was ultimately retained. The first volume in a manga series by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec was challenged by a Jerome Middle School teacher on behalf of a student who found both language and drawings in the book to be “inappropriate.” The images that perturbed the student reportedly involved “a female character wearing underwear and sharing a bed with a male character.”

This One Summer

Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (First Second, 2014)

This One Summer broke boundaries by becoming the first graphic novel to make the short list for the Caldecott Medal. Unfortunately, the Caldecott honor yielded an unforeseen negative outcome: increased calls to ban the book.

This One Summer addresses the challenges of adolescence in a sensitive and nuanced storyline that has achieved wide acclaim. It was named the most challenged book of 2016, the seventh most challenged title of 2018, and it has been among CBLDF’s most frequently defended titles.

The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics, 2003)

At the end of the 2019 school year, the Wallace School District in Silverton, Idaho, banned The Walking Dead over concerns about “graphic imagery.” A former teacher opened an investigation into the series, and a review committee was formed to examine the books. The committee voted to retain the series, but an administrator overruled the decision and unilaterally removed the books from school shelves. Students are also restricted from bringing personal copies of the series onto campus, and the district is contemplating a system to prohibit students from accessing it through interlibrary loan. CBLDF is currently fighting the ban.

Watchmen

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics, 1987)

The graphic novel that changed everything about superheroes is also one of the most frequently banned comics! Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen has been praised by critics and fans alike since its 1986 debut. The alternate history reimagines the superhero genre, employing political allegory, adult themes, and unprecedented formal inventiveness in a murder mystery involving flawed heroes.

Watchmen won the Hugo Award in 1988 and has been instrumental in garnering more respect and shelf space for comics and graphic novels in libraries and mainstream bookstores. The same qualities that led to Watchmen’s massive acclaim also led to its challenge in school library collections.

Source: Read Banned Comics, http://cbldf.org/librarian-tools/cbldf-banned-books-week-handbook/

 

 

Events Spotlight: September 26

Happy Banned Books Week Thursday! Today brings a look at the censorship of LGBTQ+ literature, lots of live readings, and more! Let’s take a look at the happenings…

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Coalition Events

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — LGBTQ Challenges

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Michelle Perez (THE PERVERT) and Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK) in conversation with Moni Barrette (GNCRT Board, Chula Vista Public Library Principal Librarian) about the disproportionately high incidence of bans and challenges levied against LGBTQ+ books in libraries and schools. This discussion will also touch on the recent increase in challenges and cancellations of Drag Storytimes in libraries across the nation. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Edgewater Branch, Chicago, IL • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Lincoln-Belmont Branch, Chicago, IL • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

CAMPUS AT A CROSSROADS: FREE SPEECH, TRUTH, AND DEMOCRACY IN AN ELECTION YEAR

NYU Cantor Film Center, New York, NY • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EDT

With the 2020 election season picking up steam, debates over free speech, truth, and the university are of increasing relevance to the health of American democracy. But in an era of deepening polarization, many see these issues through partisan eyes, shouting into fractured echo chambers. Campuses seem to be at a cross-roads—can they restore a common understanding of facts, and of the rules of engagement and disagreement? Or are they in danger of buckling under the weight of our current culture war? Find out more »

Truly Uncensored? LGBTQ+ Young Adult Literature

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST

The UK has no official censorship – but does that fact make us too complacent? As part of Banned Book Week 2019, we explore the challenges facing LGBTQ+ Young Adult literature with Dean Atta, Fen Coles and Robin Stevens, chaired by Erica Gillingham. What are the invisible barriers to expression and publication? And how do editors, publishers, teachers, librarians, parents or even authors contribute to unofficial censorship around LGBTQ+ issues? Find out more »

Other Events

Banned Books Week: “American Slavery / American Censorship”

Harvard Law School WCC B015, Cambridge, MA • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT

Professor Randall L. Kennedy of HLS weaves a story of the fight against slavery and the censoring of David Walker’s 1822 tract Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, the American Constitution Society, the ACLU at HLS, the Harvard Law School Rule of Law Society, and the Law and Philosophy Society. A non-pizza lunch will be served. Find out more »

San Diego Writers, Ink Presents a Very Special Banned Books Reading

Lestat’s West, San Diego, CA • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm PDT

In honor of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, San Diego Writers, Ink is planning a very special Banned Books Reading on September 26, 2019, at Lestat’s West at 3343 Adams Avenue in San Diego’s Normal Heights. Find out more »

Banned Books Week Celebration at Hooray For Books!

Hooray For Books!, Alexandria, VA • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm EDT

Every year, we’re excited to join book lovers from across Virginia to celebrate the freedom to read and call attention to the wealth of creativity that is stifled when books are forbidden from library shelves. This year’s Banned Books Week is from Sept. 22 – Sept. 28, but the fight for intellectual freedom takes place every day in every county in Virginia. That’s why we’re joining hands with independent bookstores across the Commonwealth to celebrate Banned Books Week. Find out more »

September Book Club Discussion: Brave New World

Fables Books, Goshen, IN • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Join us on Thursday, September 28th at 7 pm for our September Book Club Discussion Night. This event takes place during Banned Book Week an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. We will discuss Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. $5 for the event, snack provided. Banned in Ireland when it first appeared in 1932, and removed from shelves and objected to ever since, Brave New World is still making waves today. Find out more »

Teen Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird

Castroville Public Library, Castroville, TX • 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm CDT

In celebration of Banned Books Week, join us at the Castroville Library for a showing of To Kill a Mockingbird! Please bring blankets or lawn chairs to enjoy the show. Refreshments will be provided while supplies last. Find out more »

Banned Books Week: Handling Challenges

Unfortunately, some community members might object to certain books being available. It is important to manage those objections with professionalism, respect, and dedication to the mission of serving your community. Here are some useful tips.

Be Prepared

Specific written policies about collection development and challenge management are essential for libraries, educators, and theaters, and they’re also a good idea for retailers. Having a policy is just the first step — be sure to train all current and new staff in your policies and procedures and have periodic refresher sessions to ensure everyone on your team is on the same page. It may also be a good idea to post the policy somewhere where patrons can access it, either on a bulletin board or your institution’s website. Regularly update your policies as you gain experience, encounter new obstacles, or embrace new technology.

In addition to policies, some advance preparation can help prevent challenges to books, comics, and plays. Work with your staff to develop talking points for specific issues that you might encounter.

Remember Your Community

Libraries and schools have a broad mandate to provide choice for all of the individuals in their community. That means that they provide access to ideas and information across the spectrum of political and social views. Retail stores and theaters can be more specialized in their mission, but they also serve a wide range of patrons. When confronting a complaint, it is important to emphasize this inclusive approach and remind people that they are free to make decisions for themselves and their minor children, but they can’t do so for others.

Serving the broader community doesn’t mean that staff at libraries and bookstores are substitute parents or guardians. Communicating with parents and providing expert knowledge to help them and their children make choices is a best practice, but parents need to understand that the final decision about their kids’ reading is their own.

Keep It Friendly

When someone comes to you with a complaint or challenge, be polite, professional, and friendly even if the individual making the complaint is upset or angry. We may disagree with the person making the challenge, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore or discount the concerns expressed. Here are a few best practices for these difficult situations:

  • Greet each person with a smile. Communicate your openness to inquiries and concerns, and show that you take them seriously.
  • Listen more than you talk. Take time to comprehend and acknowledge the individual’s concern. Stay calm and courteous.
  • Avoid sharing personal opinions. Instead, be prepared to present facts, policy, and other background materials in writing.
  • Give a clear, non-intimidating explanation of the procedure for registering a complaint or challenge, and provide information on when a decision can be expected.
Enlist Experts

You don’t need to go it alone! Contact the member organizations of the Banned Books Week Coalition, whose expert staff can help you manage the situation with proactive resources, one-on-one advice, letters of support, and more. Even if you’ve already resolved the situation, reporting the challenge will help advocates develop tools to assist other people in your situation.

Follow Policies

Strong policies, good training, and adherence to your procedures are vital to creating the best outcome in challenge situations. People challenging content are generally well-intentioned, and they have a right to be heard. Having policies that allow you to hear their complaints and consider them objectively helps maintain a respectful approach to ensuring your institution serves the needs of everyone in your community in the best way possible — but those policies aren’t much use if you don’t stick to them!

Report Censorship!

The members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are ready to help fight challenges in your community, but we need to hear about them first! The best way to fight censorship is to call it out when it occurs. Several members of the Coalition have ways to report censorship, and they work collectively to ensure your rights:

  • Report censorship to the American Library Association using this form. ALA also has a number of challenge support tools here.
  • Report censorship to the National Coalition Against Censorship by completing this form.
  • Report censorship to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund by calling 1-888-88-CBLDF or 971-266-8212 or emailing info@cbldf.org
  • Report censorship to the National Council of Teachers of English using this form or by emailing intellectualfreedom@ncte.org
  • Report censorship at colleges and universities to FIRE at www.thefire.org/resources/submit-a-case/

For the Benefit and Enjoyment of All the People

Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park

When the American experiment began, no one expected it to one day be summarized brilliantly by a stone arch in the middle of an expanse of mountains, hot springs, and fountains erupting on nature’s atomic stopwatch.

“For the benefit and enjoyment of all the people”

This is the inscription on the Roosevelt Arch, which serves as the gateway to Yellowstone National Park’s north entrance. Many who cross under its protective ideology claim that it is the central ideal of the National Park System, or what some people call “America’s best idea.”

The National Park System was an unprecedented action of democracy, built to share and retain beauty that anyone is welcome to. More than a hundred years later, the parks stand out as a small part of our democracy that actually takes the values of liberty and equality seriously, but it wasn’t the earliest example of this kind of democratic innovation.

In 1731, Benjamin Franklin founded The Library Company, which is billed as the first public library in the world. At the time, book shops were scarce, and if they weren’t scarce, books were expensive, so Franklin pitched the idea of gathering the books his “society of mutual improvement,” Junto, a debate club of sorts, read and discussed on a recurring basis, placing them in the room in which they met for consistent access. The experiment worked so well that he expanded access, gathering subscriptions and donations from the people of Philadelphia.

The idea of access to books caught the affection of the public, and two other libraries followed, The Darby Free Library in 1743, another subscription-supported library, and the Peterborough Town Library, the world’s first tax-supported free public library in 1833.

Though each of these libraries has their own unique “first,” each one sprung out of the same force that pushed the national parks forward: “for the benefit and enjoyment of all the people.”

When one experiences the freedom our country’s national parks offer, the feeling one gets isn’t an overwhelming sense of exercising civic democracy. When you stand at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon or stare onto the glassy water of Crater Lake, you aren’t considering the political freedoms that underpin your access to such places of beauty, but the beauty itself.

The same rings true for standing among the stacks. The landscapes may be different—waterfalls replaced with poetry; canyons, gorges, and mountains replaced with concepts, commas, and ideas—but whether we walk among sequoias of California or the shelves of young adult literature, we are taking part in the promises of personal freedom our nation offers. You can stare into both the horizon of the Badlands and the pages of Toni Morrison and experience the innovation of democracy, of a free people.

Every September, America’s libraries and leading literary institutions celebrate Banned Books Week, a time set aside to point the public eye toward books that have been challenged and banned from collections, brought to courts, and, in some cases, burned. There is not a Banned Parks Week, so it is here that our comparison dies, and if you’re anything like me, you’re left wondering why. How is it that books are banned, but parks are not?

The difference between libraries and national parks is that, though they both contain beauty, and both stand for access, only one—books—contains consumable ideas. Books are as wild as the beasts that hide in the park forests. Perhaps maybe even more so because ideas aren’t contained in a physical form. Regardless of form, humans fear wild things. We fear the unknown. Staring into the face of a bear might give you the same reaction as being faced with a book that makes you uncomfortable. Granted, one of these scenarios is more likely to end with death than the other. The point is, fear will trigger a reaction in every human.

Though I’m sure somewhere there’s the story of the man or woman who, when they encountered a bear, fought it off with their bare hands, the bulk of humans won’t do that. Most of us might try to remove ourselves from the situation by forgoing the expert’s advice to not run. And here is where we find another difference. 

In the woods, we remove ourselves because, if we stay, we will be at the mercy of nature. In the stacks, we act, and I fear, believe, as if this isn’t true.

“Banned” is rarely the word we hear in our heads when we react to the books we find pushing against our sensibilities. Instead, we may say “inappropriate” or “harmful” or “too filled with cursing”—the list goes on. We can say a myriad of things that will lead us to believe that we’ve got the better idea. To us, this doesn’t look like censorship, it looks like truth. So, we challenge a book, firmly believing that we are doing right by the world. Yet we don’t exercise the same boldness when it comes to the wilderness.

We can decide to avoid a trail that we believe we aren’t up to tackling, but we do not deem those same trails inappropriate for others. If we do take those trails and they challenge us, we simply tell others that the trails are difficult. We don’t force others into not venturing into the wild based on our individual fitness and capacity. We decide for ourselves alone. And if we do go, we heed the signs that there may be bears ahead, and a hiker assumes the risks when they venture into the wild.

Books are no different, and it is a mistake to treat them as anything but wild. We must enter the library with the same caution we use when walking the mountains, forests, and rivers of our world. Preparations must be taken. Maps must be consulted. Books are banned and challenged because we continually make the mistake, whether out of fear or self-justification, of assuming books are static objects that we can impose ourselves upon. It is much more obvious when staring down the vastness of a mountain range that we can be swallowed whole by it. It is not as obvious when we crack open the pages of a book, and we must realize that it is the same exercise in order for a freedom we can all agree upon can truly ring.

“For the benefit and enjoyment of all the people”

When the American experiment began, no one expected it to one day be summarized brilliantly by a stone arch, just as no one expected libraries to stand in the gaps of equality and meet the fingers of humanity grasping for knowledge. Freedom is at stake when we remove and ban books from the hands of those willing to hike their trails, scale their cliffs, and get lost in their back country.

When we ban a book, regardless of our intentions, we keep people from a wilderness that is not ours to guard.

Dave Connis is the non-award winning author of Suggested Reading, a young adult book about banned books, censorship, and the impact of books on us and the world. 

You can read more about it here

You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, or his website.


We’ll be giving away a signed and annotated copy of Suggested Reading to one lucky person!

Follow @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter to find out more!

Events Spotlight: September 25

We’re halfway through the celebration, and Banned Books Week isn’t slowing down! Here’s a snapshot of how you can join the fun today!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Coalition Events

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Banned Books & Civil Rights

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Ronald Wimberly (BLACK HISTORY IN ITS OWN WORDS) and Nate Powell (MARCH) in conversation with Scott Bonner (IFRT, Ferguson Municipal Public Library Director) about banned and challenged books, the role of censorship in civil rights movements, and how their work in comics has addressed legacies of erasure. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books 101

Webinar • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

Did you know that hundreds of books are banned and challenged every year? In fact, you probably have some banned books on your own bookshelf! In this Banned Books Week webinar: discover why some popular titles have been banned; learn about the different ways a book can be censored; hear stories about students who stood up for the freedom to read; and find out how YOU can celebrate Banned Books Week. At the end of the program, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Interim Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll can answer your questions about banned books, censorship, and libraries. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Hall Branch – Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Budlong Woods Branch, Chicago, IL • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Banned Books Bash

Spider House Ballroom, Austin, TX • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

A slightly raucous variety show celebrating the right to read whatever we please! In conjunction with the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, and presented with PEN America, the Banned Books Bash is a fun, nerdy reminder that books need champions, and libraries feed democracy. Hosted by the marvelous Evan Narcisse, writer for Marvel’s Black Panther series. Also featuring an homage to Toni Morrison with Dr. Jennifer Wilks,Drag Queen Storytime with Ms. Anne Thrope,
Comics Code & Teen Delinquency with Michael Conrad, and
a toast to rabble rouser Molly Ivins with The Texas Observer. Find out more »

GEORGIA: Banned Together

Merely Players Presents, Doraville, GA • 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm EDT

A celebration of songs and scenes from censored plays in honor of Banned Books Week! Performed by Atlanta artists in association with the Atlanta Regional Dramatists Guild, Dramatists Guild Legal Fund and PEN America and brought to you by Merely Players Presents and Kalliope Studios, Doraville. Find out more »

Other Events

Banned Book Bingo

Central Fine Arts and International Baccalaureate Magnet High School, Macon, GA

  • September 23 – 27: Banned book display / What Do the Author’s Say About Banned Books?
  • September 25: Banned Book Bingo
  • September 26: Banned Books Selfie Booth: Get caught reading a banned book in our photo booth and share your selfie to CHS social media page.
  • September 27: Banned Books Film: The Giver

Find out more »

Dear Banned Author Writing Campaign

Fables Books, Goshen, IN • 11:00 am – 6:00 pm EDT

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. We will have a table set up all day where you can write to banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to you. To learn more about the Dear Banned Author campaign visit www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. For more information about Banned Books Week visit bannedbooksweek.org. Find out more »

Collin College’s 7th Annual Celebration of the Freedom to Read

Collin College Frisco Campus (Preston Ridge Campus) Conference Center, Frisco, TX • 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm CDT

Please join us for Collin College’s annual Banned Books Week celebration, a fun, interactive event with faculty and student readings of challenged, banned, and/or censored works and an exciting trivia competition with trophies and some fabulous prizes and trophies. This year there will also be a special dance performance by the Collin Dance Ensemble entitled, “Censorship is a Beast,” choreographed by Dance Professor Tiffanee Arnold!  Pizza will be served.  All are invited and welcome.  Free admission. Find out more »

PEN America Examines Book Bans in U.S. Prisons

In a new policy paper, the literary and human rights organization PEN America showcases the impact of the nation’s most pernicious book ban: the system of restrictions that exist across U.S. prisons, jails, and other incarceration settings. Some 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated across the country.  Against that backdrop, Literature Locked Up: How Prison Book Restriction Policies Constitute the Nation’s Largest Book Ban details the types of book bans prisoners face, the arbitrariness with which they are implemented, and the lack of transparency and oversight that leads to bans on titles from Nobel Prize winners and leading historical figures. The publication of this paper comes amid PEN America’s Literature Locked Up initiative for Banned Books Week 2019.

“This year, as the country focuses on unfair and arbitrary book bans nationwide, we wanted to focus on the pernicious ban on books in the nation’s prisons,” said James Tager, author of the report and PEN America’s deputy director of free expression policy and research. “Literature offers a lifeline for incarcerated people in the midst of a dehumanizing system. We should be promoting access to literature in our prisons. Instead, our policies today are arbitrary, irrational, and at times needlessly cruel. We urgently need a course correction that upholds the right to read behind bars.”

Among the paper’s highlights:

  • PEN America reports that literature on race and civil rights is disproportionately subject to bans, often on the grounds that such texts threaten to disrupt a prison’s social order. Often entire categories of books are banned, and these often reflect discriminatory approaches to regulation.
  • PEN America also found that review mechanisms fail to offer meaningful oversight over these bans. While the U.S. Supreme Court has established that prisons must provide some form of administrative appeal process, there is no requirement that such reviewers are independent of the prison system, nor are there any criteria regarding reviewers’ qualifications.
  • PEN America also explores how in addition to content-specific bans, prison systems have enacted wholesale restrictions on book deliveries, such as requiring purchases come only through “secure vendors,” as well as shutdowns on book donations and deliveries writ large. PEN America finds that these “content-neutral bans” have the effect of banning potentially thousands of titles by significantly limiting the range of books available to people who are incarcerated.

While no comprehensive list exists of all books banned in jails and prisons within the U.S., tens of thousands of titles are banned outright based on outmoded or misguided attempts to regulate behavior. The carceral system in Texas, for example, has reportedly banned more than 10,000 titles, including Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. But perhaps more insidious, the paper finds that bans are often ad hoc, purely at the discretion of mailroom employees or corrections officers who happen to be on duty, constituting a wider and more arbitrary landscape of restrictions that is often invisible to the public.

“Because these book bans are rarely reviewable and seldom overturned voluntarily, the only recourse incarcerated people have is public outrage,” said PEN America’s Tager. “Every time book bans are overturned, it’s because people on the inside and advocates on the outside have urged prison systems to make changes. But the system is opaque and banned book lists are unavailable. We can’t rely on public outrage alone to ensure that the rights of people in prison aren’t routinely violated. That practice has to end.”

PEN America recommends that prison systems follow the American Library Association’s Prisoners’ Right to Read – Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights principles as a guide. PEN America also urges state and federal officials to implement periodic review of book restriction policies; develop clear and non-discriminatory policies governing such restrictions; encourage prison authorities to consider the educational, literary, and rehabilitative merit of texts; make any banned book list available and accessible; and most crucially, enact meaningful review policies.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. PEN America is a member of the Banned Books Week Coalition.

PEN is hosting a Literature Locked Up event today:

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: LITERATURE LOCKED UP BANNED BOOK READING AND PUBLIC DISCUSSION

Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Join Scuppernong Books on Tuesday, September 24 to celebrate banned and challenged books from around the world. In honor of Banned Books Week 2019, the event will feature readings of banned books and involve the Scuppernong’s Young Adult Book Club, as well as the general public, with an educational component around PEN America’s Literature Locked Up campaign and provide an opportunity for participants to sign a petition calling for the right to read in American prisons. Find out more »

Events Spotlight: September 24

Banned Books Week is rolling strong, and today’s events include webinars, comics as inspiration, readings, Salman Rushdie and Laila Lalami, and so. much. trivia!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are celebrating today!

Coalition Events

Desert Island Books: Banned Books

Redland Library, Bristol, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm BST

The theme of the event is Banned Books and this is defined as books that have been banned, censored or challenged. In Desert Island Books, panel members select one or more books on the event theme plus a ‘wild card’, being a book that they have enjoyed and would recommend to others.

The panel comprises:

  • Philip Kent (Director of Library Services & University Librarian, University of Bristol)
  • Professor Madhu Krishnan (Professor of African, World & Comparative Literatures, University of Bristol)
  • Jari Moate (Writer & Founder of Bristol Festival of Literature)

The event starts at 7pm, with doors opening at 6:45pm. Find out more »

John Osborne’s Under Plain Cover

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST

A reading and discussion of the 1962 play by John Osborne at the British Library in London, which miraculously avoided a ban at a time when attitudes towards sexual behaviour were just turning. How differently would the play’s themes of privacy and public morality be received today?This is a Banned Books Week event in partnership with the British Library, Booksellers Association, English PEN, Free Word, Hachette UK, Index on Censorship, Islington Council’s Library and Heritage Service, Libraries Connected, The Publishers Association and The Royal Society of Literature. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Banned People & Post-Colonial Narratives

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Sloane Leong (PRISM STALKER) and Henry Barajas (VOZ DE M.A.Y.O. TATA RAMBO) in conversation with Alea Perez (GNCRT President-Elect) about banned people, the legacy of colonialism in literature and popular culture, and the rise of post-colonial voices as a challenge to systems which under-represent/under-acquire authors/artists of color. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics.Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Back of the Yards Library, Chicago, IL  • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

The Power to Inspire: Comics, Community & The Future of Intellectual Freedom

Robert S. Swanson Library & Learning Center, Menomonie, WI • 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

In the intellectual freedom community, our job is to change the world one mind at a time. With identity censorship rampant and an increasingly polarized social climate, the core value of free speech is now being called into question. During Banned Books Week, CBLDF Executive Director and Banned Books Week Coalition Chair Charles Brownstein draws on his experiences defending comics and graphic novels to reflect on the role of free expression in creating a culture of empathy, respect, curiosity, and intellectual freedom. Find out more »

Webinar: Ask Me Anything About Censorship

Webinar • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT

This Banned Books Week, join the conversation about access to information. Launched in 1982, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and draws attention to the harms of censorship. During this presentation, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll will explore the history of Banned Books Week and why it’s important today; current censorship trends (it’s not just books that are targeted!); and specific ways readers can stay alert about censorship. Attendees are invited to ask questions during the second half of the program. Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: SALMAN RUSHDIE AND LAILA LALAMI

All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, OK • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

Salman Rushdie returns to Tulsa for a celebration of his new novel, Quichotte, a dazzling Don Quixote for the modern age—a tour de force that is as much an homage to an immortal work of literature as it is to the quest for love and family. PEN America, alongside Magic City Books, is thrilled to commemorate this release right in time for Banned Books Week!

Rushdie, a former president of PEN America, will be joined in conversation by Pulitzer Prize finalist and PEN America Member Laila Lalami whose most recent and timely novel, The Other Americans, is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, all informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture. Join us to discuss a literary interpretation of a classic and the accompanying satirical commentary on our modern age of alternative facts. Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: LITERATURE LOCKED UP BANNED BOOK READING AND PUBLIC DISCUSSION

Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Join Scuppernong Books on Tuesday, September 24 to celebrate banned and challenged books from around the world. In honor of Banned Books Week 2019 , the event will feature readings of banned books and involve the Scuppernong’s Young Adult Book Club, as well as the general public, with an educational component around PEN America’s Literature Locked Up campaign and provide an opportunity for participants to sign a petition calling for the right to read in American prisons. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Mount Prospect Library, Mount Prospect, IL • 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Other Events

Banned Books Week: “Censorship by Fire; Book Burning as an Act of Cultural Violence”

Harvard Griswold Hall, Cambridge, MA • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT

Andras Riedlmayer, Bibliographer in Islamic Art and Architecture, Harvard Fine Arts Library and Radu Popa, Assistant Dean for Library Services & Director of the Law Library, NYU will share their stories, from testifying before the ITCY to fleeing communist Romania. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, the ACLU at HLS, the Harvard Law School Rule of Law Society, the Law and Philosophy Society, and the International Human Rights Clinic. A non-pizza lunch will be served. Find out more »

Banned Books Read-In at Rock Island Library

Rock Island Public Library, Rock Island, IL • 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

Annual banned and challenged books “Read-In” presented by the Rock Island Public Library and the Midwest Writing Center. Find out more »

Banned Books Week Read Aloud

Woodford Co. Library, Versailles, KY • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT

(Adults and teens ages 15+) Join us in reading passages and sharing the history from your favorite banned or challenged books. Find out more »

Harry Potter Trivia

Community Library Network, Post Falls, ID • 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm PDT

Calling all Muggles! Do you know to get to Diagon Alley? What are the seven ingredients needed for Polyjuice Potion? Prove your wizarding world knowledge at Harry Potter Trivia, where teams of up to 4 will compete for glory and prizes. Adults and teens 13+ welcome! Find out more »

Banned Books Week Trivia

515 Brewing Company, Clive, IA • 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT

Join the ACLU of Iowa and the Iowa Library Association in celebrating our First Amendment rights and freedom to information! The questions will include a wide range of topics, but you don’t need to be a censorship expert to join and win fun prizes. All proceeds benefit the ACLU of Iowa and the ILA in their work to protect free speech rights and bring raw attention to the harmful effects of censorship. Tickets are $10 per person. Find out more »

Banned Books Week: Know Your Rights

The First Amendment protects the freedom to read. Everyone is entitled to express their opinions about a book, but they don’t have the right to limit another person’s access to information. This kind of censorship is most effective when people don’t act to stop it. Here are some fundamentals to help protect your rights when it comes to freedom of speech and the right to read!

Educators

Teachers are the foundation of our free society. Their proximity to younger readers also puts them on the front lines in free expression battles. If you’re a teacher, you should understand that your rights can vary by school or school district, so be sure to get acquainted with your institution’s collection development and challenge policies. If your school lacks such policies, volunteer to help craft them. Reach out to NCAC or NCTE for guidance in drafting clear, effective policies. Public and private institutions have different First Amendment obligations. Government entities like public schools are bound by the First Amendment, but private schools can have a narrower set of guidelines.

Generally speaking, parents can object to assignments and request alternatives for their children, but they can’t make you remove content. A single complaint shouldn’t override the professional judgment of educators in shaping curriculum.

Librarians

Public libraries provide resources for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people in their community. The American Library Association provides a vast range of resources, policies, and best practices to help support your ability to serve the community. Among the principles articulated in ALA’s Library Bill of Rights:

  • Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access
    to ideas.

View the full Library Bill of Rights at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

Retailers

The First Amendment protects the right to sell all kinds of material, including material for adults and mature readers. Key principles that ensure you and your staff are safe:

  • Establish good policies and follow them. By having some specific guidelines in place and making sure every member of your staff is on the same page, you can help defuse a First Amendment emergency.
  • Thoughtfully display content. Every community is different, so be deliberate in how you display material. It may be helpful to segregate material for younger readers into its own section, rack mature titles on a high shelf, or even keep some more adult material in its own section.
  • Talk to your customers and be involved in your community. It sounds like common sense, but if you’re well-established as part of the community, people are more likely to try to work out a solution one-on-one than to take an adversarial approach.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund recently released Selling Comics, a guide to comics retailing that also includes several chapters on the freedom to sell comics. Get a copy here. CBLDF’s Retailer Rights Workshops provide hands on information. If you are interested in hosting or participating, contact CBLDF at info@cbldf.org

The American Booksellers Association has created a number of tools to help retailers advocate for various causes, including free expression. Find out more at http://www.bookweb.org/abfe

Readers (AKA All of Us!)

Whether you’re age 7 or 107, the First Amendment protects your right to access information. Here are some ways you can help uphold that right:

Stay informed! Keep in touch with your local librarians and educators to find out about book challenges in your community. Subscribe to news publications dedicated to the First Amendment and free expression, such as email newsletters from the members of the Banned Books Week Coalition.

Report censorship! Reporting challenges when they happen helps free expression advocates gather necessary information about what materials are at risk. The members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are ready to help fight challenges in your community, but we need to hear about them first! The best way to fight censorship is to call it out when it occurs. Several members of the Coalition have resources for reporting censorship:

  • Report censorship to the American Library Association using this form. ALA also has a number of challenge support tools here.
  • Report censorship to the National Coalition Against Censorship by completing this form.
  • Report censorship to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund by calling 1-888-88-CBLDF or 971-266-8212 or emailing info@cbldf.org
  • Report censorship to the National Council of Teachers of English using this form or by emailing intellectualfreedom@ncte.org
  • Report censorship at colleges and universities to FIRE at www.thefire.org/resources/submit-a-case/

Speak up! Attempts to ban books rarely succeed when people speak out against them. Whether it is a school board, PTA, or library meeting or a public hearing, be there to speak up for the First Amendment and the right to read. Write letters to your local administrators, politicians, and newspapers supporting the right to read. Remind your fellow citizens and officials that no one has the right to restrict access to books, and be prepared to stand up for all books, even those you may not like. Any successful book ban opens the door to more censorship.

Source: CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook 2017, http://cbldf.org/librarian-tools/cbldf-banned-books-week-handbook/

11 Challenged and Banned Books

The American Library Associations Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles an annual list of the most challenged and banned books. Normally, that list is only ten titles long, but this year’s list includes eleven titles, some of which were even burned by censors! Let’s take a look…

George by Alex Gino

Reasons: banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints

Captain Underpants series, written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey

Reasons: series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references

Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations

Skippyjon Jones series, written and illustrated by Judy Schachner

Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

ALA OIF tracked tracked 347 challenges to library, school, and university materials in 2018, targeting 483 books, programming, displays, and more. In 2018, many of the attacks against reading were aimed at LGBQIA+ content, political viewpoint, and sexual content.

For the current most challenged list and previous year’s lists, visit the ALA website here. ALA has also provided infographics, shelftalkers, and more about this year’s list here. Find out about the challenges faced by America’s libraries with the State of America’s Libraries Report 2019 here. Find images, infographics, and more on OIF’s free downloads webpage!

Webinars, Dear Banned Author, and Other Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week Online!

If you can’t find a Banned Books Week event near you, are tied to a desk, or you’re stuck at home, you can still find a way to join the celebration! The Banned Books Week Coalition has webinars, Dear Banned Author, and more online opportunities to join the party!

Keep an eye on the Banned Books Week Twitter feed (@bannedbooksweek) for the latest news!

Webinars

September 23

Webinar: Three Ways Librarians Can Combat Censorship

Webinar • 8:00 am – 9:00 am CDT

What can librarians and educators do to help combat censorship? For public, school, and academic libraries, censorship is never a simple issue to navigate, especially when it involves parents, a board, or a fellow colleague. This year’s Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) theme is “Censorship leaves us in the dark. Keep the light on.” In a webinar hosted by ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Index on Censorship magazine, and SAGE Publishing, three librarians, one from each type of library, will share tips for navigating censorship issues. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Historical Voices

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Andre R. Frattino (SIMON SAYS) and Sanford Green (BITTER ROOT) in conversation with Dr. Katie Monnin (Author of 8 books on teaching graphic novels, Why so serious? Productions Founder) about banned voices throughout history. Topics covered will also include the use of censorship as a mode of suppression, the erasure of dissenting voices from the historical narrative of our nation and others, and the legacy of those erasures as they affect current events.Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

September 24

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Banned People & Post-Colonial Narratives

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Sloane Leong (PRISM STALKER) and Henry Barajas (VOZ DE M.A.Y.O. TATA RAMBO) in conversation with Alea Perez (GNCRT President-Elect) about banned people, the legacy of colonialism in literature and popular culture, and the rise of post-colonial voices as a challenge to systems which under-represent/under-acquire authors/artists of color. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics.Find out more »

Webinar: Ask Me Anything About Censorship

Webinar • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT

This Banned Books Week, join the conversation about access to information. Launched in 1982, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and draws attention to the harms of censorship. During this presentation, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll will explore the history of Banned Books Week and why it’s important today; current censorship trends (it’s not just books that are targeted!); and specific ways readers can stay alert about censorship. Attendees are invited to ask questions during the second half of the program. Find out more »

September 25

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Banned Books & Civil Rights

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Ronald Wimberly (BLACK HISTORY IN ITS OWN WORDS) and Nate Powell (MARCH) in conversation with Scott Bonner (IFRT, Ferguson Municipal Public Library Director) about banned and challenged books, the role of censorship in civil rights movements, and how their work in comics has addressed legacies of erasure. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books 101

Webinar • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

Did you know that hundreds of books are banned and challenged every year? In fact, you probably have some banned books on your own bookshelf! In this Banned Books Week webinar: discover why some popular titles have been banned; learn about the different ways a book can be censored; hear stories about students who stood up for the freedom to read; and find out how YOU can celebrate Banned Books Week. At the end of the program, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Interim Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll can answer your questions about banned books, censorship, and libraries. Find out more »

September 26

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — LGBTQ Challenges

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Michelle Perez (THE PERVERT) and Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK) in conversation with Moni Barrette (GNCRT Board, Chula Vista Public Library Principal Librarian) about the disproportionately high incidence of bans and challenges levied against LGBTQ+ books in libraries and schools. This discussion will also touch on the recent increase in challenges and cancellations of Drag Storytimes in libraries across the nation. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

September 27

Webinar: Addressing Identity Censorship

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm PDT

Identity censorship is the most frequent form of intellectual freedom challenge in today’s environment.  From moral panic about Drag Queen Story Hour to frequent challenges to LGBTQ+ comics, books, and authors, this disturbing trend is gaining traction. CBLDF engages a panel of experts to help you identify and intelligently address this growing problem.  In the past year, CBLDF has participated in defending challenges and bans of books solely because they contain LGBTQ+ characters, curriculum rejected because it focused on LGBTQ+ titles, and community programs canceled solely because program participants identify as LGBTQ+.  In this webinar, we will speak with individuals who’ve been on the front lines of this issue to identify the contours of the problem and discuss strategies for managing it.  In addition to receiving CBLDF’s “Fighting Identity Censorship Toolkit,” all webinar participants are invited to share their own stories and receive face-to-face expert advice on managing identity censorship issues. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Access Issues: Privatization & Gatekeeping

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

David F. Walker (BITTER ROOT) in conversation with Ray James (IFRT Coalition Building Committee) about how privatization impacts access, particularly as it relates to prison libraries, as (most) US prisons are privatized and how this impacts inmate access to information. This discussion will also touch on how gatekeeping and biases (of librarians, prison staff, the public) affect access for this vulnerable population. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 22-28), readers are encouraged to write (or tweet) to banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

Speaking out for banned and challenged books is vital in the fight against censorship. This webpage includes resources and ideas on participating in the Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign and hosting letter-writing programs.

Get Involved

  • Write a letter to a banned and challenged author, telling them about a favorite title or how their words have impacted you. Use these Banned & Challenged Author Addresses.
  • Host a letter-writing program at your library or school, bringing writing supplies and a list of author addresses. Use these Tips for Hosting Programs.
  • Reach out to a favorite banned or challenged author by tagging them on Twitter and sharing your story using #DearBannedAuthor. Use these Tips for Tweeting.
  • Share your #DearBannedAuthor story on Twitter for a chance to win Banned Books Week merchandise! Learn more about the Dear Banned Author Drawing and read the Official Rules before entering.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Stand for the Banned Virtual Read-Out

The annual Stand for the Banned Read-out invites readers to film themselves reading banned books or talking about censorship. Videos are highlighted on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel. Set up a space in your library, school, or store where your patrons can participate in the read-out. Get more details here.

Project Censored

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

#BannedTogether with Penguin Random House

This Banned Books Week, Penguin Random House is thrilled to #BannedTogether.

Read to fight censorship! For every Penguin Random House book you purchase during Banned Books week, PRH will donate $1 to the American Booksellers Association for Freedom of Expression Fund (up to $20,000 donation).

To participate, simply purchase a PRH book during Banned Books Week (9/22-9/28) and log your purchase into your Reader Rewards account. Not a member yet? Join free here.

While the book must be purchased from 9/22-9/28 to count towards a donation, you have until 9/30 to log your purchase. If your purchase is not eligible for Reader Rewards, we will still count it towards the donation. Email readerrewards@penguinrandomhouse.com and we’ll take care of you.

 

It’s Here: Celebrate Banned Books Week with These Coalition Events!

Banned Books Week is here! Events celebrating the right to read are taking place all over the world, and the members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are proud to present performances like Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret and Drag Queen Story Hour, talks, webinars, Dear Banned Author, and more to keep the light on!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how the members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are celebrating this week…

Weeklong Events

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 22-28), readers are encouraged to write (or tweet) to banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

Speaking out for banned and challenged books is vital in the fight against censorship. This webpage includes resources and ideas on participating in the Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign and hosting letter-writing programs.

Get Involved

  • Write a letter to a banned and challenged author, telling them about a favorite title or how their words have impacted you. Use these Banned & Challenged Author Addresses.
  • Host a letter-writing program at your library or school, bringing writing supplies and a list of author addresses. Use these Tips for Hosting Programs.
  • Reach out to a favorite banned or challenged author by tagging them on Twitter and sharing your story using #DearBannedAuthor. Use these Tips for Tweeting.
  • Share your #DearBannedAuthor story on Twitter for a chance to win Banned Books Week merchandise! Learn more about the Dear Banned Author Drawing and read the Official Rules before entering.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Stand for the Banned Virtual Read-Out

The annual Stand for the Banned Read-out invites readers to film themselves reading banned books or talking about censorship. Videos are highlighted on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel. Set up a space in your library, school, or store where your patrons can participate in the read-out. Get more details here.

Project Censored

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

#BannedTogether with Penguin Random House

This Banned Books Week, Penguin Random House is thrilled to #BannedTogether.

Read to fight censorship! For every Penguin Random House book you purchase during Banned Books week, PRH will donate $1 to the American Booksellers Association for Freedom of Expression Fund (up to $20,000 donation).

To participate, simply purchase a PRH book during Banned Books Week (9/22-9/28) and log your purchase into your Reader Rewards account. Not a member yet? Join free here.

While the book must be purchased from 9/22-9/28 to count towards a donation, you have until 9/30 to log your purchase. If your purchase is not eligible for Reader Rewards, we will still count it towards the donation. Email readerrewards@penguinrandomhouse.com and we’ll take care of you.

September 22

Books on the Chopping Block

Sulzer Library, Chicago,IL • 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic reading by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

September 23

Webinar: Three Ways Librarians Can Combat Censorship

Webinar • 8:00 am – 9:00 am CDT

What can librarians and educators do to help combat censorship? For public, school, and academic libraries, censorship is never a simple issue to navigate, especially when it involves parents, a board, or a fellow colleague. This year’s Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) theme is “Censorship leaves us in the dark. Keep the light on.” In a webinar hosted by ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Index on Censorship magazine, and SAGE Publishing, three librarians, one from each type of library, will share tips for navigating censorship issues. Find out more »

Walled In

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST

Writers consider walls in literature and in our lives. 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, writers consider walls in literature and in our lives. With the resurgence of interest in the boundaries and borders of nations across the world, is the symbol of that wall still potent in 2019? Do walls and censorship go hand-in-hand? And are there places where a wall could mean safety rather than segregation? With David Hare and Ben Okri. Find out more »

Banned Books Week: “Cancel Culture: Can Free Speech in Cultural Institutions Survive the Onslaught of Moral Outrage?”

Harvard Law School • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT

Harvard Law School Library Presents: Banned Books Week Svetlana Mintcheva, Director of Programs at the National Coalition Against Censorship and a literary scholar and public commentator will present a talk on the effects contemporary moral outrage has on the arts and culture. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, the ACLU at HLS, the Harvard Law School Rule of Law Society, the Law and Philosophy Society, and the Harvard Federalist Society. A non-pizza lunch will be served. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Historical Voices

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Andre R. Frattino (SIMON SAYS) and Sanford Green (BITTER ROOT) in conversation with Dr. Katie Monnin (Author of 8 books on teaching graphic novels, Why so serious? Productions Founder) about banned voices throughout history. Topics covered will also include the use of censorship as a mode of suppression, the erasure of dissenting voices from the historical narrative of our nation and others, and the legacy of those erasures as they affect current events.Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

ALA Headquarters-Chicago, Chicago, IL • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Bridgeport Library, Chicago, IL • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Frankfort Public Library, Frankfort, IL • 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret + Banned Next? Love v. Death, A New Chamber Opera

The Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, FL • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. Sponsored by the Dramatists Guild and the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, performances are taking place across the country during Banned Books Week, September 22-28.This Florida performance is directed by The Studio@620’s Bob Devin Jones and is a 50-minute mix of scenes and songs from plays and musicals producers have objected to, including The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), Rent, Fun Home, An Octoroon, Kleptocracy, Chicago, and Cabaret. Find out more »

Banned Together! A Philadelphia Premiere!

Parkway Central Library, PA • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is back for its fourth year in a row and appearing for the first time in Philadelphia! The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF) created Banned Together as a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. The performances will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged), An Octoroon and Calendar Girls, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts). Find out more »

BOSTON: Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret

Central Library in Copely Square, Boston, MA • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, presents Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret, a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages; Banned Together was created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theatre. Previous performances have featured selections from CabaretChicagoFun HomeRent, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with contextual commentary by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins). Find out more »

HOUSTON: Banned Together

Alley Theatre’s Hubbard Stage, Houston, TX • 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm CDT

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (“DLDF”) in partnership with PEN America is pleased to present the Fourth annual Banned Together as a part of Banned Books Week (September 22nd-28th), the annual celebration of the freedom to read. Our Houston performance is Monday, September 23, 7:30pm at the Alley Theatre, Hubbard Stage. Banned Together is a celebration of scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, and was created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression. Find out more »

CHICAGO: Banned Together

Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL • 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theatre. This is the fourth year that Banned Together will be presented in Chicago. In previous years, Banned Together has been presented in over twenty-five cities across the U.S., and will be presented in multiple cities again this year, as a part of Banned Books Week.The Chicago performance will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, Fun Home, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts). Find out more »

September 24

Desert Island Books: Banned Books

Redland Library, Bristol, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm BST

The theme of the event is Banned Books and this is defined as books that have been banned, censored or challenged. In Desert Island Books, panel members select one or more books on the event theme plus a ‘wild card’, being a book that they have enjoyed and would recommend to others.

The panel comprises:

  • Philip Kent (Director of Library Services & University Librarian, University of Bristol)
  • Professor Madhu Krishnan (Professor of African, World & Comparative Literatures, University of Bristol)
  • Jari Moate (Writer & Founder of Bristol Festival of Literature)

The event starts at 7pm, with doors opening at 6:45pm. Find out more »

John Osborne’s Under Plain Cover

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST

A reading and discussion of the 1962 play by John Osborne at the British Library in London, which miraculously avoided a ban at a time when attitudes towards sexual behaviour were just turning. How differently would the play’s themes of privacy and public morality be received today?This is a Banned Books Week event in partnership with the British Library, Booksellers Association, English PEN, Free Word, Hachette UK, Index on Censorship, Islington Council’s Library and Heritage Service, Libraries Connected, The Publishers Association and The Royal Society of Literature. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Banned People & Post-Colonial Narratives

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Sloane Leong (PRISM STALKER) and Henry Barajas (VOZ DE M.A.Y.O. TATA RAMBO) in conversation with Alea Perez (GNCRT President-Elect) about banned people, the legacy of colonialism in literature and popular culture, and the rise of post-colonial voices as a challenge to systems which under-represent/under-acquire authors/artists of color. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics.Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Back of the Yards Library, Chicago, IL  • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

The Power to Inspire: Comics, Community & The Future of Intellectual Freedom

Robert S. Swanson Library & Learning Center, Menomonie, WI • 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

In the intellectual freedom community, our job is to change the world one mind at a time. With identity censorship rampant and an increasingly polarized social climate, the core value of free speech is now being called into question. During Banned Books Week, CBLDF Executive Director and Banned Books Week Coalition Chair Charles Brownstein draws on his experiences defending comics and graphic novels to reflect on the role of free expression in creating a culture of empathy, respect, curiosity, and intellectual freedom. Find out more »

Webinar: Ask Me Anything About Censorship

Webinar • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT

This Banned Books Week, join the conversation about access to information. Launched in 1982, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and draws attention to the harms of censorship. During this presentation, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll will explore the history of Banned Books Week and why it’s important today; current censorship trends (it’s not just books that are targeted!); and specific ways readers can stay alert about censorship. Attendees are invited to ask questions during the second half of the program. Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: SALMAN RUSHDIE AND LAILA LALAMI

All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, OK • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

Salman Rushdie returns to Tulsa for a celebration of his new novel, Quichotte, a dazzling Don Quixote for the modern age—a tour de force that is as much an homage to an immortal work of literature as it is to the quest for love and family. PEN America, alongside Magic City Books, is thrilled to commemorate this release right in time for Banned Books Week!

Rushdie, a former president of PEN America, will be joined in conversation by Pulitzer Prize finalist and PEN America Member Laila Lalami whose most recent and timely novel, The Other Americans, is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, all informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture. Join us to discuss a literary interpretation of a classic and the accompanying satirical commentary on our modern age of alternative facts. Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: LITERATURE LOCKED UP BANNED BOOK READING AND PUBLIC DISCUSSION

Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Join Scuppernong Books on Tuesday, September 24 to celebrate banned and challenged books from around the world. In honor of Banned Books Week 2019 , the event will feature readings of banned books and involve the Scuppernong’s Young Adult Book Club, as well as the general public, with an educational component around PEN America’s Literature Locked Up campaign and provide an opportunity for participants to sign a petition calling for the right to read in American prisons. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Mount Prospect Library, Mount Prospect, IL • 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

September 25

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Banned Books & Civil Rights

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Ronald Wimberly (BLACK HISTORY IN ITS OWN WORDS) and Nate Powell (MARCH) in conversation with Scott Bonner (IFRT, Ferguson Municipal Public Library Director) about banned and challenged books, the role of censorship in civil rights movements, and how their work in comics has addressed legacies of erasure. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books 101

Webinar • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

Did you know that hundreds of books are banned and challenged every year? In fact, you probably have some banned books on your own bookshelf! In this Banned Books Week webinar: discover why some popular titles have been banned; learn about the different ways a book can be censored; hear stories about students who stood up for the freedom to read; and find out how YOU can celebrate Banned Books Week. At the end of the program, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Interim Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll can answer your questions about banned books, censorship, and libraries. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Hall Branch – Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Budlong Woods Branch, Chicago, IL • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Banned Books Bash

Spider House Ballroom, Austin, TX • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

A slightly raucous variety show celebrating the right to read whatever we please! In conjunction with the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, and presented with PEN America, the Banned Books Bash is a fun, nerdy reminder that books need champions, and libraries feed democracy. Hosted by the marvelous Evan Narcisse, writer for Marvel’s Black Panther series. Also featuring an homage to Toni Morrison with Dr. Jennifer Wilks,Drag Queen Storytime with Ms. Anne Thrope,
Comics Code & Teen Delinquency with Michael Conrad, and
a toast to rabble rouser Molly Ivins with The Texas Observer. Find out more »

GEORGIA: Banned Together

Merely Players Presents, Doraville, GA • 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm EDT

A celebration of songs and scenes from censored plays in honor of Banned Books Week! Performed by Atlanta artists in association with the Atlanta Regional Dramatists Guild, Dramatists Guild Legal Fund and PEN America and brought to you by Merely Players Presents and Kalliope Studios, Doraville. Find out more »

September 26

Write & Shine: Radical & Rebellious Writing Workshop

The Cafe at Waterstones, London, United Kingdom • 9:00 am – 10:45 am BST

Write & Shine runs a programme of morning writing events in peaceful London locations. As part of Banned Books Week, we’ll host a session about writing that takes a stand. We’ll create subversive stories, consider rebellious writers & think about books that have changed the way we look at the world. RADICAL & REBELLIOUS Workshop, £19 – part of Banned Books Week. Find out more »

CAMPUS AT A CROSSROADS: FREE SPEECH, TRUTH, AND DEMOCRACY IN AN ELECTION YEAR

NYU Cantor Film Center, New York, NY • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EDT

With the 2020 election season picking up steam, debates over free speech, truth, and the university are of increasing relevance to the health of American democracy. But in an era of deepening polarization, many see these issues through partisan eyes, shouting into fractured echo chambers. Campuses seem to be at a cross-roads—can they restore a common understanding of facts, and of the rules of engagement and disagreement? Or are they in danger of buckling under the weight of our current culture war? Find out more »

Truly Uncensored? LGBTQ+ Young Adult Literature

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST

The UK has no official censorship – but does that fact make us too complacent? As part of Banned Book Week 2019, we explore the challenges facing LGBTQ+ Young Adult literature with Dean Atta, Fen Coles and Robin Stevens, chaired by Erica Gillingham. What are the invisible barriers to expression and publication? And how do editors, publishers, teachers, librarians, parents or even authors contribute to unofficial censorship around LGBTQ+ issues? Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — LGBTQ Challenges

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Michelle Perez (THE PERVERT) and Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK) in conversation with Moni Barrette (GNCRT Board, Chula Vista Public Library Principal Librarian) about the disproportionately high incidence of bans and challenges levied against LGBTQ+ books in libraries and schools. This discussion will also touch on the recent increase in challenges and cancellations of Drag Storytimes in libraries across the nation. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Edgewater Branch, Chicago, IL • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Lincoln-Belmont Branch, Chicago, IL • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

September 27

Webinar: Addressing Identity Censorship

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm PDT

Identity censorship is the most frequent form of intellectual freedom challenge in today’s environment.  From moral panic about Drag Queen Story Hour to frequent challenges to LGBTQ+ comics, books, and authors, this disturbing trend is gaining traction. CBLDF engages a panel of experts to help you identify and intelligently address this growing problem.  In the past year, CBLDF has participated in defending challenges and bans of books solely because they contain LGBTQ+ characters, curriculum rejected because it focused on LGBTQ+ titles, and community programs canceled solely because program participants identify as LGBTQ+.  In this webinar, we will speak with individuals who’ve been on the front lines of this issue to identify the contours of the problem and discuss strategies for managing it.  In addition to receiving CBLDF’s “Fighting Identity Censorship Toolkit,” all webinar participants are invited to share their own stories and receive face-to-face expert advice on managing identity censorship issues. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Access Issues: Privatization & Gatekeeping

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

David F. Walker (BITTER ROOT) in conversation with Ray James (IFRT Coalition Building Committee) about how privatization impacts access, particularly as it relates to prison libraries, as (most) US prisons are privatized and how this impacts inmate access to information. This discussion will also touch on how gatekeeping and biases (of librarians, prison staff, the public) affect access for this vulnerable population. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

DePaul University Library, Chicago, IL • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

First Amendment Trivial Pursuit

Kurt Vonnegut Museum, Indianapolis, IN • 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EDT

Win prizes by showing your freedom of speech and banned book knowledge at Trivia Night with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)! Find out more »

DALLAS: Banned Together

Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Dallas, TX • 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm CDT

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theatre. The Dallas regional production will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts).

Banned Together, which takes place annually during PEN America’s Banned Books Week, is open to the public and free to attend. Reservations are encouraged, as we have limited capacity and this helps us anticipate audience size and plan accordingly. However, we may be able to accommodate those without an Eventbrite reservation on a first come, first served basis, pending remaining capacity and availability on the day. Find out more »

September 28

1984 at 70: How Has Orwell’s Vision Aged?

Wigtown Book Festival, Wigtown, Scotland, United Kingdom • 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm BST

It is 70 years since George Orwell published 1984. So how do our political and personal landscapes today compare to Orwell’s dystopia? And can the book shed light on today’s data-driven security and surveillance society? Our panel: Dorian Lynskey, author of The Ministry of Truth, an acclaimed new biography of 1984; award-winning foreign affairs writer David Pratt; and Julia Farrington of Index on Censorship. Chaired by Magnus Linklater.This is a Banned Books Week event in partnership with the British Library, Booksellers Association, English PEN, Free Word, Hachette UK, Index on Censorship, Islington Council’s Library and Heritage Service, Libraries Connected, The Publishers Association and The Royal Society of Literature. Find out more »

Banned Books Story Hour 2019

Bookmans Mesa, Messa, AZ • 10:00 am – 11:00 am MST

Something banned this way comes! Join Drag Story Hour- Arizona at Bookmans Mesa for a story hour hosted by Felicia Minor and Freddy Prinze Charming. Let’s love all banned books and celebrate the growth of Drag Queen Story Hours in the face of challenge. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Bezazian Branch, Chicago, IL • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Forbidden Tales: Censorship and Society

Asia Society, New York, NY • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT

Through Fire (Books that Survived the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance at Tsinghua University No.2), 2017. Oil on canvas. H. 48 x W. 74 in. (122 x 188 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Chambers Fine Art. Photograph courtesy of the artist

Xiaoze Xie will discuss his research into the history of censorship in China that inspired the current exhibition Xiaoze Xie: Objects of Evidence. The artist will be joined by noted experts on the subject of censorship Martin Heijdra, Princeton University, and James Tager, PEN America in a panel led by Michelle Yun, Asia Society Museum Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

The program is organized in conjunction with Banned Books Week, September 22-28, 2019.

The program is free and registration is required. Register here. Find out more »

CRNI and the Current Free-Speech Situation Facing the World

Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main Library (Auditorium), Columbus, OH • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT

Over the years CRNI has become a fixture at the annual conventions of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), which this year takes place as part of the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus Festival (CXC). We are enormously grateful to the organizers from both events for an opportunity to highlight issues facing cartoonists around the world with a panel discussion open to the public. Our panelists are:

  • Terry Anderson (UK), Deputy Executive Director, CRNI
  • Charles Brownstein (USA), Executive Director, CBLDF
  • Ritu Gairola Khanduri (India/USA), Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, University of Texas and Board of Directors, CRNI
  • PX Molina (Nicaragua), cartoonist, CRNI Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award-winner 2018
  • Ann Telnaes (Norway/USA), cartoonist, former AAEC President, CRNI advisor
  • Zunar (Malaysia), cartoonist, CRNI Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award-winner 2011

Find out more »

Drag Queen Story Hour Celebrates Banned Books Week

St John’s Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT

Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real. Find out more »

Banned Books Week x Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco!

The Bindery, San Francisco, CA • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm PDT

What better way to celebrate Banned Books Week than with Drag Queen Story Hour! The Banned Books Week Coalition presents this special event on September 28 at The Bindery (1727 Haight Street, San Francisco), The Booksmith’s multi-purpose events space. Join some of San Francisco’s most glamorous drag queens as they read challenged and banned picture books to entertain children of all ages! Doors will open at 2:00 p.m., with the reading to start at 2:30 p.m.The event is free and open to the public, but priority will be given to parents with their children. Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: BANNED BOOKS WEEK(END) AT DEEP VELLUM

Deep Vellum Books, Dallas, TX • 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm CDT

Join Deep Vellum Publishing and Books on Saturday, September 28 to celebrate banned and challenged books from around the world. This event will feature literary karaoke of banned titles, including The Poetry Project’s BREAK OUT reading by an incarcerated writer, a screening of Phoneme Media’s short film Kilómetro Cero about the persecuted Equitorial Guinean writer Marcelo Ensemo Nsang, literary crafts, and a giveaway featuring challenged books from Deep Vellum and Phoneme’s catalog. Find out more »

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: BANNED BOOKS WEEK OPEN MIC

BookBar, Denver, CO • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm MDT

Join BookBar on Saturday, September 28 to celebrate banned and challenged books from around the world. In honor of Banned Books Week 2019, the event will feature an open mic for readings of banned books. Bring your favorite banned book or pick one up and read a 2-3 minute passage! This event is free and open to the public. Find out more »

September 29

TENNESSEE: Banned Together

Darkhorse Theater, Nashville, TN • 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, is proud to present the Tennessee production of “Banned Together.” Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theatre.The Nashville regional production will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts). This performance will be produced byActors Bridge Ensemble, performed by Lipscomb theatre students, and directed by Abby Charles. Find out more »

October 1

More Speech Panel Discussion

Harold Washington Library, Chicago, IL • 6:15 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

For more than 200 years, the First Amendment has impacted art and civic life through freedom of expression. Political cartoons, controversial speech, the culture wars, and images posted on social media platforms are just some of the kinds of expression that have challenged—or been challenged by—First Amendment freedoms. But what speech gets protected in the United States, and who gets to speak? Why do we restrict speech in some places more than others?What challenges do libraries face in being the custodians for a variety of speech acts? How does art shape our First Amendment freedoms? Find out more »

Drag Queen Story Hour: A Great Way to Celebrate Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week 2019 kicks off this Sunday, and what better way to celebrate the freedom to read than with drag queens and kids books?!

The Banned Books Week Coalition and its members are co-sponsoring Drag Queen Story Hour events in San Francisco and New York City, but DQSH fun can be had coast-to-coast!

Celebrate with the Banned Books Week Coalition and DQSH in San Francisco!

September 28, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. PDT, The Bindery (1727 Haight Street, San Francisco)

Join some of San Francisco’s most glamorous drag queens as they read challenged and banned picture books to entertain children of all ages! The Banned Books Week Coalition presents this special event on September 28 at The Bindery (1727 Haight Street, San Francisco), The Booksmith’s multi-purpose events space. Doors will open at 2:00 p.m. PDT, with the reading to start at 2:30 p.m. PDT. The event is free and open to the public, but priority will be given to parents with their children. The event also features facepainting for kids and a cash bar serving beer, wine, and cocktails for anyone 21+.

Featured performers:
Beatrice Thomas (Black Benatar) is an arts & equity consultant, creative producer, multi-disciplinary artist and social justice drag queen — one of the core Drag Queen Story Hour storytellers. Their regenerative social practice lies at the intersection of performing arts and activism. Mx. Thomas comes from a family lineage of pastors, performers, doctors and healers. Beatrice has been making art and pondering the meaning of it all from the moment they came into consciousness. From absurdist cabarets to vampire/witch love triangles,Thomas weaves the experiences of queers and people of color into magical realities foster empathy and entertainment. Thomas nationally advances the work of marginalized \ artists, and for nearly a decade has worked in the public, creative, and non-profit sectors in the San Francisco Bay area. More recently, Thomas has dedicated her career to building community and providing professional development for individual artists and arts administrators. Previously they held senior positions at San Francisco Arts Commission, foolsFURY Theatre, and SAFEhouse Arts. They are an inaugural APAP Leadership Fellow and received their MFA from the University of Texas.

With a pedigree from performances at the late, iconic Esta Noche, Per Sia‘s trajectory has gone on to include art curation, stand-up, television, modeling, and maybe a quinceañera or two, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and México. Currently, she is a regular performer in the nationally acclaimed “Drag Queen Story Hour” as well as an educator in residence at the Children’s After School Arts (CASA) program in the San Francisco Unified School District recently profiled on KQED Arts and National Public Radio.

RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1093204637543051/

DQSH and NCAC Celebrate Banned Books Week in New York City!

September 28, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT, St John’s Lutheran Church (155 Milton St., Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real. Join DQSH and the National Coalition Against Censorship on September 28, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT at St John’s Lutheran Church in Brooklyn (155 Milton St., Greenpoint).

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2361382427508398/

Check out these official DQSH events throughout Banned Books Week!

OCO Drag Queen Story Hour

September 22, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT, The SPOT (75 E. 1st St., Oswego, New York)

Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like – Drag Queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.

Come join Xandra Dee & Mimi Mosa for stories, a song, craft & snack at the OCO Midtown plaza location!

Event open to the public, families and children strongly welcomed!

Canned food donations greatly appreciated but not required.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2180292942080653/

Drag Queen Story Hour with The Conjure Shop

September 22, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. CDT, The Conjure Shop (809 S. 75th St., Omaha, Nebraska)

Adding a little pizzazz and sparkle to afternoon’s favorite past time…STORY TIME!

Join Mrs. Yuka Layme for Drag Queen Story Time, the children’s storytelling event that has been sweeping the nation! The event is brought to you in partnership with The Conjure Shop

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2535208213167355/

Drag Queen Story Hour With Sharon ShareAlike & Ava ShareAlike

September 27, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. CDT, Bobzbay (419 N Main St, Bloomington, Illinois)

Bobzbay is proud to host Sharon ShareAlike and Ava J ShareAlike for Drag Queen Story Hour (also known as DQSH). The Bistro has generously offered to partner with us to help this event happen and we can’t be more grateful! This will be a fun, family friendly event for all ages! Sit down with some of our favorite drag queens for a couple of kid-friendly story books.

Please feel free to ask any questions before the event and check out https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/ for more information.

We have a limited number of chairs so if you’d like, bring something soft to sit on. This event is free and open to the public. Parking is free in the Market St. parking garage just a couple blocks away from the shop or there is street parking.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2958348084239805/

Drag Queen Story Hour — Vermont

September 28, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. EDT, Milton Public Library (39 Bombardier Rd,, Milton, Vermont)

Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne, two of Vermont’s favorite drag queens, are bringing Drag Queen Story Hour to Milton! The queens will be sure to delight and captivate audience members of all ages as they share stories focused on individuality, activism, gender, creativity, expression, and social responsibility.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/468250954010163/

Drag Queen Story Hour — Los Angeles

September 28, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. PDT, Eagle Rock Branch – Los Angeles Public Library (5027 Caspar Ave., Los Angeles, California)

Presented in Partnership with Home Sweet Huddy and Compass, a real estate team!

DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR is exactly what it sounds like! Drag Queens reading stories to kids in Libraries, Schools and Bookstores the like! Bring your kids to a magical hour dedicated to literacy, love, acceptance and joy! All the magic of drag with the fun of storytime! Come early to make some crafts!!!

With PICKLE!

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1362065963956135/

Drag Queen Story Hour — Connecticut

September 28, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT, Hartford Public Library (500 Main St, Hartford, Connecticut)

Hartford Public Library presents our very first Drag Queen Story Hour! Drag Queen Story Hour is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. Its goal? To inspire a love of reading, while teaching deeper lessons on diversity, self-love and an appreciation of others. This fun all-ages event features local drag queens Giganta Smalls and Robin Fierce reading children’s stories and a crown-making craft at our very own library.

We will host two story hour sessions. Guests are welcome to come to either story hour, or stay for both!

Storytime Schedule:
1:00 p.m. — Story Hour with Giganta Smalls, followed by a craft
2:30 p.m. — Story Hour with Robin Fierce, followed by a craft in the Center for Contemporary Culture

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/432897020655800/

Banned Books Drag Story Hour 2019!

September 28, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. MST, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange (1056 South Country Club Drive, Mesa, Arizona)

Something banned this way comes! Join Drag Story Hour- Arizona at Bookmans Mesa for story hour hosted by Felicia Minor and Freddy Prinze Charming.

Let’s love all banned books and celebrate the growth of Drag Queen Story Hours in the face of challenge.

RSVP in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/500952000478623/

Drag Queen Story Hour with Kearney Pride 2019

September 28, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. CDT, Harmon Park (3100 5th Ave., Kearney, Nebraska)

Adding a little pizzazz and sparkle to afternoon’s favorite past time…STORY TIME!

Join Mrs. Yuka Layme for Drag Queen Story Time, the children’s storytelling event that has been sweeping the nation! The event is brought to you in partnership with Kearney Pride Walk/Festival 2019 & PFLAG Kearney. Our FIRST is Kearney Nebraska!

Readings of your favorite (and maybe some new) stories by: Lucy Roxia

Keep your eye on an update to our exact location at Pride.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/388278792092101/

Drag Queen Story Hour is hosting events before and after Banned Books Week. Visit their page on Facebook for a full schedule!

Drag Queen Story Hour/SF (DQSH/SF) contracts with professional drag queens who are experienced youth performers and educators. They capture the imagination and gender play of childhood and give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models, all while promoting early childhood education and inclusive family programming. In spaces we create, kids are able to see beyond gender restrictions and imagine a world where everybody is safe and welcome and dress up is real. DQSH Queens are ambassadors for equity diversity and inclusion in family programming. Created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco, DQSH now happens regularly in L.A., New York, and San Francisco, and events are popping up all over the country and the world!

https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/

https://www.facebook.com/dragqueenstoryhour/

https://www.instagram.com/dragqueenstoryhour/?hl=en

Project Censored: The Freedom to Read and Learn

 

In observance of Banned-Books Week (September 22 – 28, 2019), the latest Project Censored Show covers some of the obstacles placed in the way of Americans’ freedom to read and learn, notably efforts to keep unfavored books out of school libraries — or even to cancel authors’ speaking engagements.

Project Censored host Mickey Huff is joined in the conversation by Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Fund; Jackie Farmer, Outreach Officer for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education; Abena Hutchful, Youth Free Expression Program Coordinator for the National Coalition Against Censorship; and Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Interim Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Listen to the full broadcast below, download it at the Project Censored website, or listen on iTunes and Spotify

The Project Censored Show airs on 40 stations and is available on iTunes and Patreon. The show was started in 2010 by Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips and the program is an extension of the work Project Censored began in 1976 celebrating independent journalism while fighting media censorship.

Image Comics Teams Up With ALA’s GNCRT and IFRT to Celebrate #BannedBooksWeek

Image Comics is celebrating Banned Books Week with the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table by producing a week of Library Livestream webinars featuring creators and librarians in conversation on a number of pressing topics! Libraries around the country are invited to welcome their patrons for these exciting creator conversations during Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, which runs from September 22 – 28. Each Library Livestream will be a freewheeling discussion on creativity, freedom of expression, the (sometimes recent) history of banned and challenged comics, and how access to information is a fundamental right library patrons can expect librarians to defend across the world.

Presented by Image Comics with the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table, the Library Livestreams webinars will be hosted on the Zoom platform and live-streamed to the American Library Association YouTube channel. The webinars are scheduled daily during Banned Books Week – September 23 – 27 at 12 pm CT (1 pm ET / 10 am PT). Please register for each individual Livestream below:

  • MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 — “Historical Voices” – Andre R. Frattino (SIMON SAYS) and Sanford Green (BITTER ROOT) in conversation with Dr. Katie Monnin (Author of 8 books on teaching graphic novels, Why so serious? Productions Founder) about banned voices throughout history. Topics covered will also include the use of censorship as a mode of suppression, the erasure of dissenting voices from the historical narrative of our nation and others, and the legacy of those erasures as they affect current events.
  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 — “Banned People & Post-Colonial Narratives” – Sloane Leong (PRISM STALKER) and Henry Barajas (VOZ DE M.A.Y.O. TATA RAMBO) in conversation with Alea Perez (GNCRT President-Elect) about banned people, the legacy of colonialism in literature and popular culture, and the rise of post-colonial voices as a challenge to systems which under-represent/under-acquire authors/artists of color.
  • WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 — “Banned Books & Civil Rights” – Ronald Wimberly (BLACK HISTORY IN ITS OWN WORDS) and Nate Powell (MARCH) in conversation with Scott Bonner (IFRT, Ferguson Municipal Public Library Director) about banned and challenged books, the role of censorship in civil rights movements, and how their work in comics has addressed legacies of erasure.
  • THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 — “LGBTQ Challenges” – Michelle Perez (THE PERVERT) and Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK) in conversation with Monica Barette (GNCRT Board, Principal Librarian at Chula Vista Library) about the disproportionately high incidence of bans and challenges levied against LGBTQ+ books, especially (but not limited to) those titles aimed at younger readers, in libraries and schools. This discussion will also touch on the recent increase in challenges and cancellations of Drag Storytimes in libraries across the nation.
  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27— “Access Issues – Privatization & Gatekeeping” – David F. Walker (BITTER ROOT) in conversation with Ray James (IFRT Coalition Building Committee) about how privatization impacts access, particularly as it relates to prison libraries, as (most) US prisons are privatized and how this impacts inmate access to information. This discussion will also touch on how gatekeeping and biases (of librarians, prison staff, the public) affect access for this vulnerable population.

Hashtags to follow: #BannedBooksWeek, #libcomix, #educomix

About the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table
The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association is dedicated to supporting library staff in all aspects of engaging with graphic novels and comics, including collection development, programming, and advocacy. For more information connect with GNCRT on Facebook: ALA Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table; Twitter: @libcomix; Instagram: @libcomix; or the GNCRT ALA Connect page.

About the Intellectual Freedom Round Table
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom. @IFRT_ALA

About Image Comics
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has six individuals on the Board of Directors: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, and Eric Stephenson. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.

About ALA
Established in 1876, the American Library Association (ALA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

ALA Helps Libraries ‘Keep the Light On’ During Banned Books Week

Don’t be left in the dark this Banned Books Week (Sept. 22-28, 2019). The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) offers several resources and activities for libraries and readers that highlight the Banned Books Week 2019 theme “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark. Keep the Light On.”

Programs

The Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to reach out to banned or challenged authors via letters, emails, and tweets. The program aims to raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and ignite discussions about the essential access to a variety of library materials. Authors have also shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

Libraries are invited to host letter-writing programs. Printable postcards and author mailing addresses can be found on the Dear Banned Author webpage. Eligible tweets to or about banned and challenged authors with the hashtag #DearBannedAuthor will be entered into a drawing to win Banned Books Week materials. Learn more and read the Official Rules before entering.

Readers and libraries can also support the power of words onscreen. The annual Stand for the Banned Read-out invites readers to film themselves reading banned books or talking about censorship. Videos are highlighted on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

Webinars

OIF staff will explore censorship themes with two free webinars designed for libraries and schools to stream as programs during Banned Books Week celebrations. Anyone is welcome to register and attend.

  • Ask Me Anything About Censorship
    • Streaming: Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. CST
    • OIF Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll will briefly explore banned book and censorship history, along with ways readers can stay alert about censorship. Attendees are invited to ask questions during the second half of the discussion.

  • Banned Books 101
    • Streaming: Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. CST
    • With a suggested audience of students grades 6-12 and young adults, the webinar will review recent challenges to titles, the ways a book can be censored, and stories of students who stood up for the freedom to read. The webinar is led by OIF Interim Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Pekoll.

Library workers are invited to join the free webinar “Three Ways Librarians Can Combat Censorship” on Monday, Sept. 23, hosted by SAGE Publishing, Index on Censorship magazine, and OIF. During the webinar, librarians will share their experiences and tips with navigating censorship. The webinar will also highlight how contested books can engage readers in constructive conversations.

Promotional Materials

There are several places to find materials to celebrate Banned Books Week. Digital posters, glow-in-the-dark buttons, bookmarks, stickers, and more are available on the ALA Store. OIF’s Free Downloads webpage offers social media shareables, coloring sheets, and videos.

In celebration of Banned Books Week, banned book T-shirts on the ALA Store will be marked down to $7 starting Sept. 20.

Communities

The Celebrating Banned Books Week Facebook group offers a space for readers, library workers, educators, and booksellers to share programming, promotion, and display ideas. Members can also highlight how their community is celebrating the freedom to read. Facebook pages and Facebook users are invited to join the group by answering two questions.

Those celebrating Banned Books Week can also submit their program information to be displayed on Banned Books Week Coalition Events Calendar. The calendar allows readers to search for events in their local area.

Celebrate Banned Books Week with Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco!

What better way to celebrate Banned Books Week than with Drag Queen Story Hour! The Banned Books Week Coalition presents this special event on September 28 at The Bindery (1727 Haight Street, San Francisco), The Booksmith’s multi-purpose events space.

Join some of San Francisco’s most glamorous drag queens as they read challenged and banned picture books to entertain children of all ages! Doors will open at 2:00 p.m., with the reading to start at 2:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but priority will be given to parents with their children.

Drag Queen Story Hour, which presents readings and workshops to kids of all ages in public libraries, has faced repeated challenges to its programming across the country in the past two years. By partnering with the Banned Books Week Coalition, both organizations aim to highlight the real dangers of allowing stories — and the real lives they represent — to be erased. Telling kids and readers of all ages which stories are valuable and which are not can have lasting and devastating effects. The September 28 event is a celebration of expression, inclusion, and diversity.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries — challenges that still happen today! The 2019 celebration will be held September 22 – 28. The theme of this year’s event proclaims “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”

LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books are among the most challenged and banned titles each year. In the last few years, acclaimed picture books like A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss and EG Keller; This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman and Kristyna Litten; And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, and Henry Cole; and I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas have appeared on the annual Top 10 Most Challenged Books List from American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Join Banned Books Week and Drag Queen Story Hour at The Bindery in San Francisco for a fabulous celebration of reading, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., September 28! The event also features facepainting for kids and a cash bar serving beer, wine, and cocktails for anyone 21+. RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1093204637543051/

Find Banned Books Week events around the world at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/

Learn more about the most challenged books at ala.org/bbooks/top

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

https://bannedbooksweek.org/

https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/

Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek

ABOUT DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR

Drag Queen Story Hour/SF (DQSH/SF) contracts with professional drag queens who are experienced youth performers and educators. They capture the imagination and gender play of childhood and give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models, all while promoting early childhood education and inclusive family programming. In spaces we create, kids are able to see beyond gender restrictions and imagine a world where everybody is safe and welcome and dress up is real. DQSH Queens are ambassadors for equity diversity and inclusion in family programming. Created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco, DQSH now happens regularly in L.A., New York, and San Francisco, and events are popping up all over the country and the world!

https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/

https://www.facebook.com/dragqueenstoryhour/

https://www.instagram.com/dragqueenstoryhour/?hl=en

ABOUT THE BINDERY

The Bindery is a multi-purpose events space and bookstore, a satellite project of independent bookstore and San Francisco legacy business The Booksmith. The events parlor has a beer, wine, and cocktail bar and hosts all manner of events, literary and otherwise, public and private. It’s home to the experimental keystone, The Arcana Project: a deep, highly inclusive array of books — fiction and nonfiction, from all over the world — presented in chronological order by the date they were written.

https://www.booksmith.com/Bindery

https://www.facebook.com/TheBinderySF/

https://www.instagram.com/thebinderysf/

Celebrate Banned Books Week with BANNED TOGETHER: A CENSORSHIP CABARET!

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF), in partnership with PEN America, is pleased to present the fourth annual Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret as a part of Banned Books Week (September 22-28), the annual celebration of the freedom to read.

The show will be performed in eight cities around the country:

  • Atlanta – The Atlanta Cuban Club/ Kalliope Studios (September 25, 7:30 – 9:30 PM EDT; event info)
  • Boston – Boston Public Library (September 23, 7:00 – 8:30 PM EDT; event info)
  • Chicago – Roosevelt University (September 23, 7:30 – 9:00 PM CDT; event info)
  • Houston – Alley Theater (September 23, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM CDT; event info)
  • Dallas – Bishop Arts Theater (September 27, 8:00 – 9:30 PM CDT; event info)
  • Nashville – Actors Bridge Studio at Darkhorse Chapel (September 29, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM CDT; event info)
  • Philadelphia – Free Library of Philadelphia (September 23, 7:00 – 10:00 PM EDT; event info)
  • St. Petersburg, FL – Palladium Theater (September 23, 7:00 PM EDT; event info)

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. The performances will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, An Octoroon, Rent and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF President John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts).

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization created by the Dramatists Guild to advocate for free expression in the dramatic arts and a vibrant public domain for all, and to educate the public about the industry standards surrounding theatrical production and about the protections afforded dramatists under copyright law. www.dldf.org @TheDLDF

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. www.pen.org @PENamerican

NOW AVAILABLE: The Latest Edition of the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook

Are you getting ready to celebrate Banned Books Week? Then don’t miss the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook, which is available now to read digitally and will be making its first-ever print debut during the 2019 ALA Annual Conference!

Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook is a free publication that can be used to guide your celebration of the right to read during Banned Books Week or any time of year! It includes programming ideas, best practices for events, resources, and tips for handling censorship.

If you are attending #ALAAC19, look for the handbook at intellectual freedom programs and the Stand for the Banned booth throughout the conference! (For a rundown of these events, check out the ALA blog here.)

Don’t let censors take books out of our hands! Celebrate free expression during Banned Books Week (September 22 – 28, 2019). The theme of this year’s event proclaims “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”

Banned Books Week is the most important opportunity during the year for advocates — publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and readers — to explain why we must defend everyone’s right to choose what they want to read and view. The 15 member organizations of the Banned Books Week Coalition will support your celebration throughout the year with programming ideas, promotional materials, an events calendar, and other resources available at bannedbooksweek.org

Get your event planning started with the latest edition of the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook!

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION
The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People for the American Way; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Banned Books Week 2019: Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark

Don’t let censors take books out of our hands! Celebrate free expression during Banned Books Week (September 22 – 28, 2019). The theme of this year’s event proclaims “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”

Banned Books Week is the most important opportunity during the year for advocates — publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and readers — to explain why we must defend everyone’s right to choose what they want to read and view. The 15 member organizations of the Banned Books Week Coalition will support your celebration with programming ideas, promotional materials, an events calendar, and other resources available at bannedbooksweek.org

Banned Books Week has been shining a light on censorship since it was founded in 1982, and the fight for free expression is as urgent as ever. In recent years, the attacks on the right to read have become bolder, as legislatures have introduced bills that would eliminate crucial safeguards for the right to read books that some people find offensive.

In recognition of National Library Week (April 7 – 13, 2019), the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released their list of the Top 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018. In 2018, ALA tracked nearly 350 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, as well as 483 books that were challenged or banned. ALA normally lists 10 challenged books, but for this year’s list, the last two books were tied and both were publicly burned because they contained LGBTQIA+ content. In fact, six of the books on the list were attacked for this reason, including Alex Gino’s George, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss and EG Keller, Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, Drama by Raina Telgemeier, This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman and Kristyna Litten, and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.

“Almost half of the books on the Top 11 this year (including This Day in June) were banned or challenged because they contained LGBTQ+ content,” says challenged author Gayle Pitman. “That is incredibly disturbing to me. Whether it involves removing a book from a shelf or burning a book in a trash can, all of these are attempts to erase, silence, and destroy our communities. This is an opportunity for all of us to stand up for the freedom to read, as well as for the right to see ourselves reflected in books and for our communities to exist without oppression.”

Bestselling author Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Forever), member of the National Coalition Against Censorship’s board of directors and a long-time target of censors, affirms the importance of Banned Books Week. “It’s a chance for all of us to celebrate the books we love and to make sure we continue to work to protect our intellectual freedom.”

“The importance of Banned Books Week can never be overstated,” imparts Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and co-founder of the Miami Book Fair International. “Independent bookstores everywhere are given the opportunity to shine a light on the importance of fighting to keep our freedom to read intact. In these precarious times, free expression must be allowed to keep the looming darkness at bay.”

Help the Banned Books Week Coalition keep the light on during Banned Books Week, September 22 – 28, 2019! Visit bannedbooksweek.org or follow us on Twitter to get the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news.

Learn more about the Top 11 Challenged Books of 2018 at ala.org/bbooks/top and the challenges facing America’s libraries at ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2019

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

American Library Association Names Top 11 Challenged Books of 2018

Artwork (c) ALA

It’s National Library Week, which means the American Library Associations Office for Intellectual Freedom has unveiled the most challenged books of 2018. Normally, that list is only ten titles long, but this year’s list includes eleven titles, some of which were even burned by censors!

Here’s the full Top Eleven Most Challenged Books list:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character
  2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints
  3. Captain Underpants series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple
  4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references
  5. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes
  6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide
  7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations
  8. Skippyjon Jones series written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
    Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint
  10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
    Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content
  11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
    Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

ALA OIF tracked tracked 347 challenges to library, school, and university materials in 2018, targeting 483 books, programming, displays, and more. In 2018, many of the attacks against reading were aimed at LGBQIA+ content, political viewpoint, and sexual content.

For the current most challenged list and previous year’s lists, visit the ALA website here. ALA has also provided infographics, shelftalkers, and more about this year’s list here. Find out about the challenges faced by America’s libraries with the State of America’s Libraries Report 2019 here.

Events Spotlight: September 29

It’s the last hurrah for Banned Books Week! How are you celebrating the right to read on the final day of celebration? Here are a few suggestions for events around the country!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are celebrating today…

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Image Comics Livestream: Skottie Young
Twitch, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET

Image Comics is celebrating Banned Books Week with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association by producing a week of Library Livestreams featuring creators Nick Dragotta (EAST OF WEST), Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK, Lumberjanes), Pornsak Pichetshote (INFIDEL), Charles Soule (CURSE WORDS), and Skottie Young(I HATE FAIRYLAND, BULLY WARS, MIDDLEWEST).

Simply visit the Image Comics Twitch page at https://www.twitch.tv/imagecomics. All webinars will run from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST and will include a discussion between moderator and creator for 40-45 minutes; followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A participation with live audience. No registration is required to view these livestreams.

Riverhead Pop-Up Reading Room: Banned Books Week
Brooklyn, New York, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET

You’re invited to the latest installment of Riverhead’s open-air, thematically curated pop-up reading rooms! September’s pop-up is in honor of Banned Books Week; join us in celebrating the freedom to read as we feature books and authors from the Riverhead collection that have been challenged in schools and libraries around the country, or address themes or topics that inspire passionate discussion, from startling subversions of religion in Khaled Hosseini’s acclaimed novel The Kite Runner to profoundly honest explorations of sexuality and oppression in Garrard Conley’s memoir Boy Erased. Throughout the day, peruse books that start essential conversations: our shelves will be stocked with Mohsin Hamid’s heartrending and inventive Exit West, R.O. Kwon’s explosive The Incendiaries, and Patricia Lockwood’s equal parts saucy and sublime Priestdaddy. Younger readers are encouraged to attend and get lost in wonderfully original and illuminating titles like John Green’s Looking for Alaska, David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, and many more titles courtesy of our friends at Random House Children’s Books and Penguin Young Readers.

Stop by the pop-up to read, to engage with fellow readers about the vital need for books that generate debate and deeper reflection, and take part in Banned Books Week activities that amplify the stories and voices of those that need to be heard today. The pop-up will ask visitors to consider the question: What would it be like to live in a world without open access to ideas and literature? There will be sponsored snacks and beverages available on-site, and a chance to win Riverhead totes filled with signed copies of the hottest new books by Riverhead authors Khaled Hosseini (including his latest illustrated novel Sea Prayer), Meg Wolitzer, and Lauren Groff, as well as a custom Penguin Random House Banned Books Box.

More info: https://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/events/riverhead-pop-up-reading-room-banned-books-week

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Houston, Texas
Queensbury Theatre, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. CT

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from Chicago, Fun Home, Spring Awakening, and The Laramie Project, among other notable works. Join Producing Executive Director, Marley Singletary, who will direct Equity actors and Tribble School for the Performing Arts students, in this celebration of songs and scenes. The pieces will be linked with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman.

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign (all week)

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Project Censored (all week)

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

Penguin Random House Instagram Sweepstakes Benefitting We Need Diverse Books (all week)

This year, Penguin Random House is highlighting quotes from books that have been challenged or banned in a social media sweepstakes competition, open to participants who repost these quotes or tag a friend and comment with the hashtags #BannedBooksWeek and #Sweepstakes. For every entry, Penguin Random House will donate one book – up to 5,000 total – to We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

To participate in this campaign, follow @PenguinRandomHouse on Instagram.

More info…

Other Events

Banned Books Week Open Mic
September 29
Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, 1122 Commercial Ave.
Emporia, KS 66801 United States

Banned Books Week 2018, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, will be held September 23 – 29. The 2018 theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories,” is a reminder that everyone needs to speak out against the tide of censorship. Celebrate our local authors and artists as they take to the stage and speak out against censorship. Bring something to read (an excerpt from a banned book, maybe?) or something to play (protest songs seem appropriate, yes?) and join Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore as we take a stand against censorship. We’ll be posting video, Facebook LIVE, as we celebrate Banned Books Week. More info…

Banned Book Week at the Warehouse
September 29 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm EDT
The Friends’ Used Book Store at the Warehouse, 8456 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45216 United States

The Friends of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are participating in Banned Books Week. Check out our display when you are shopping. Grab a coloring sheet and enter our coloring contest. Pick up a free Banned Book Week bookmark. Most of all, find hundreds of banned and challenged books on our shelves. Saturdays 10:00 am-4:00 pm

Books on the Chopping Block
September 29

Free Dramatic Readings by City Lit Theater Company of excerpts from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual freedom.

Today’s events:

Saturday 9/29, 11:00AM – Bezazian Branch – Chicago Public Library
1226 W. Ainslie St., Chicago, IL

Saturday 9/29, 2:30PM – Lincolnwood Public Library
4000 W. Pratt Ave., Lincolnwood, IL

Indy Celebrates the Freedom to Read!
September 29 @ 12:00 pm – October 4 @ 8:00 pm EDT
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, 340 N Senate Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46260 United States

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is celebrating the freedom to read and expression of ideas during Banned Books Week! This year, Ball State University English professor Rai Peterson will be living in the front window of KVML as our prisoner. For the entire week she will be imprisoned behind a wall of banned books, while joining the community in exploring censorship and challenged works. From September 24-29, we invite you to join our prisoner for readings and discussions with guests such as Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, IUPUI professor Trevor Potts, Hunter S. Thompson’s son Juan Thompson, playwright Kenneth Jones, and more! More info…

Virtual Read Out
September 29 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm CDT
North-East Public Library, 6000 Wilson Rd
Kansas City, MO 64123 United States

Stand up against censorship by participating in a virtual read out! We will record you reading a banned or challenged book on iMovie. Then, we will guide you through the editing process, and we will post them to YouTube for Banned Books Week! More info…

The Underground Art Show: Works Inspired by Banned Books
September 29 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Rd
Suffolk, VA 23435 United States

On this date, we challenge all ages to create a piece of art based off of a banned book for an open reception where all the art will be displayed, judged, and winners will receive a prize. Passive art-making stations will also be set up. Art submissions will be accepted September 1st through the 28th at all three branches. You will be asked to fill out a submission form when dropping off your piece. More info…

Banned Books Trivia
September 29 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT
Katy Budget Books, 2450 Fry Road
Houston, TX 77084 United States

All week in store, you can come by and see our Banned Books display and learn about books banned throughout history. To wrap up Banned Books Week, we’re hosting a Banned Books Trivia Night. There will be a $5 entry fee, the proceeds of which will be donated to The American Booksellers for Free Expression, whose mission is to promote and protect the free exchange of ideas, particularly those contained in books. There will be prizes for the top three scores and a whole lot of fun! More info…

Banned Books Week Party at Brothers 2018!
September 29 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT
brothers lounge, 3812 Farnam St.
Omaha, NE 68105 United States

Celebrate Banned Books Week with your friends from Solid Jackson Books, Dundee Book Company, and Brothers Lounge! We’ll have a trivia game and other activities. Plus beer, cocktails, and darts! Grab a pint or two, join the conversation about why it’s important to keep free speech free, and stick it to the book-burners by perusing important books that some want to label as obscene. And some that are obscene, but only in the best ways. A selection of banned and band books (both used and new) will be available for purchase. More info…

Banned Books Bingo
September 29 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT
Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway
New York, NY 10003 United States

To celebrate Banned Books Week this year, we’re doing banned book-themed bingo night! There will be 6 rounds, all different themes, and one winner per round. Winners will be awarded Strand goodies and prizes. The evening will be bookended (get it?!) by performances by our invited Queen of the Banned, SOL! More info…

5 Things You Can Do to Support the Right to Read

Banned Books Week is a celebration of the right to read, a right that needs to be protected year round. Whether you’re a librarian, teacher, bookseller, student, or writer, there are a number of things you can do to defend and support the right to read.

Know Your Rights

The First Amendment protects the freedom to read. Everyone is entitled to express their opinions about a book, but they don’t have the right to limit another person’s access to information. Censorship is most effective when people don’t know or defend their rights.

For educators and school librarians, public and private institutions have different First Amendment obligations. Government entities like public schools are bound by the First Amendment, but private schools can have a narrower set of guidelines. Be sure to understand your school’s policies.

For librarians, ALA’s Library Bill of Rights is a useful tool in understanding your rights and the rights of your community. You can view it at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

Students don’t necessarily have the same First Amendment rights as adults. For safety reasons, schools can put limited restraints on free expression. The National Coalition Against Censorship and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund put together BE HEARD! Protecting Your Rights to help students understand their rights. You can read it at https://ncac.org/resource/be-heard

Be Prepared

One way to prevent challenges and bans is to prepare for them. If you’re an educator or librarian, ensure that you have clear and comprehensive collection development and materials review policies. Several members of the Banned Books Week Coalition have tools specifically for this purpose:

Policies are also important for booksellers. The First Amendment protects the right to sell all kinds of material, including material for adults and mature readers, but retailers should take steps to protect themselves and their staff:

  • Establish good policies and follow them. By having some specific guidelines in place and making sure every member of your staff is on the same page, you can help defuse a First Amendment emergency.
  • Thoughtfully display content. Every community is different, so be deliberate in how you display material. It may be helpful to segregate material for younger readers into its own section, rack mature titles on a high shelf, or even keep some more adult material in its own section.
  • Talk to your customers and be involved in your community. It sounds like common sense, but if you’re well-established as part of the community, people are more likely to try to work out a solution one-on-one than to take an adversarial approach.
  • If you need assistance, the American Booksellers Association has created a number of tools to help retailers (http://www.bookweb.org/abfe), and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund provides advice and aid to retailers (info@cbldf.org).

Stay Informed

Keep in touch with your local librarians and educators to find out about book challenges in your community. Subscribe to news publications dedicated to the First Amendment and free expression, such as email newsletters from the members of the Banned Books Week Coalition.

Report Censorship

Censorship thrives in ignorance. The best way to prevent it is to make sure that free expression advocates know it’s happening, even if an official challenge hasn’t been made yet. Several members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are prepared to take direct action to prevent and fight censorship. Use the following contact information to let them know when books, comics, and plays are under threat!

Speak Out

Attempts to ban books rarely succeed when people speak out against them. Here are a few ways you can speak out for banned and challenged books:

  • Attend school board, PTA, or library meetings or public hearings where book challenges are being discussed, and be prepared to speak up for the First Amendment and the right to read.
  • Write letters to your local administrators, politicians, and newspapers supporting the right to read. Remind your fellow citizens and officials that no one has the right to restrict access to books.
  • Be prepared to stand up for all books, even those you may not like. Any successful book ban opens the door to more censorship.

For more information about advocating for the right to read, challenges, programming, and more, check out the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook here.

Banned Spotlight: September 28

There’s only two days left in Banned Books Week! How are you celebrating the right to read? Here are a few suggestions for events around the country!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are celebrating today…

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Censorship with English PEN & Royal Court Theatre
September 28 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm BST
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Sloane Square, Chelsea
London, SW1W 8AS United Kingdom

In 1968, the Royal Court Theatre helped bring about the abolition of the Lord Chamberlain’s censorship powers. But even today, 50 years later, we continue to be challenged by the complexities of freedom of political expression and self-censorship.

This panel discussion explores how artists and programmers continue to reconcile truth-telling with genuine political jeopardy and contemporary cultural politics, both nationally and internationally.

Panellists will include Anthony Burton (chair, Royal Court Theatre), Anthony Neilson (playwright and director) and Anna Wakulik (playwright). The event will be chaired by Ritula Shah.

The event, co-hosted by The Royal Court Theatre, is part of this year’s Banned Books Week UK, a week long celebration of the freedom to read. More info…

Beyond Censorship: Power, Silencing and Resistance
September 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm BST
Lady Violet Room, National Liberal Club, 1 Whitehall Place, Westminster
London, SW1A 2HE United Kingdom

Please join the Authors’ Club, Media Diversified, the Jhalak Prize and Index on Censorship for a discussion of the ways in which dissenting voices are structurally silenced and the many ways of resistance. A distinguished panel of writers will share their own experiences and works on how institutions and structures operate in subtle legal ways to silence voices that are considered discomfiting, challenging and dangerous as well as ways in which contemporary writing and publishing continues to find ways of resisting such unofficial forms of censorship. More info…

A Talk With James Tager, HLS ’13
September 28 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT
Harvard Law School WCC 1010, 1585 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

James Tager, HLS ’13 and Deputy Director, Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America, will speak about contemporary issues related to banning books. Lunch will be available first come, first served; no RSVP necessary.

Image Comics Livestream: Charles Soule
Twitch, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET

Image Comics is celebrating Banned Books Week with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association by producing a week of Library Livestreams featuring creators Nick Dragotta (EAST OF WEST), Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK, Lumberjanes), Pornsak Pichetshote (INFIDEL), Charles Soule (CURSE WORDS), and Skottie Young (I HATE FAIRYLAND, BULLY WARS, MIDDLEWEST).

Simply visit the Image Comics Twitch page at https://www.twitch.tv/imagecomics. All webinars will run from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST and will include a discussion between moderator and creator for 40-45 minutes; followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A participation with live audience. No registration is required to view these livestreams.

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Dallas, Texas
Bishop Arts Theatre Center, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. CT

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). A provocative cabaret-style performance showcasing excerpts from Tony Award-winning plays and musicals such as Rent, Cabaret, Fun Home, and Angels in America, these productions are widely challenged by those who desire to censor the literary community due to the content and/or language of works. However, they will find their voices again on the Bishop Arts Theatre Center stage. Working with the TNT (Teenagers And Theatre) Apprenticeship program, Banned Together educates teen and adult audiences of how theatre and the arts can inspire conversations, activism, and challenge our mindsets. Directed by Korey Parker.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-together-2018-dallas-tickets-48878347453

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Atlanta, Georgia
Out Front Theater Company, 8:00 -10:00 p.m. ET

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from Chicago, Spring Awakening, Cabaret, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works.

Tickets: https://tickets.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?e=b69f4f04b5cec4a060a9a4ffd2b9bf25&t=tix&vqitq=02bf18a3-b1b5-4f93-9f47-f1596721936e&vqitp=8349b7d9-9b91-48d9-b960-579fb194ea34&vqitts=1536412162&vqitc=vendini&vqite=itl&vqitrt=Safetynet&vqith=a9679f9cd65ff

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign (all week)

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Project Censored (all week)

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

Penguin Random House Instagram Sweepstakes Benefitting We Need Diverse Books (all week)

This year, Penguin Random House is highlighting quotes from books that have been challenged or banned in a social media sweepstakes competition, open to participants who repost these quotes or tag a friend and comment with the hashtags #BannedBooksWeek and #Sweepstakes. For every entry, Penguin Random House will donate one book – up to 5,000 total – to We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

To participate in this campaign, follow @PenguinRandomHouse on Instagram.

More info…

Other Events

Banned Book Buttons
September 28 @ 10:00 am – 4:30 pm EDT
The Connection Branch Library, 2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202 United States

Make a button from a variety of designs or from your favorite banned book. Supplies will be provided, until we run out. Kids in grade 5 and younger must have adult supervision to use the button maker. More info…

Indy Celebrates the Freedom to Read!
September 28 @ 12:00 pm – October 3 @ 8:00 pm EDT
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, 340 N Senate Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46260 United States

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is celebrating the freedom to read and expression of ideas during Banned Books Week! This year, Ball State University English professor Rai Peterson will be living in the front window of KVML as our prisoner. For the entire week she will be imprisoned behind a wall of banned books, while joining the community in exploring censorship and challenged works. From September 24-29, we invite you to join our prisoner for readings and discussions with guests such as Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, IUPUI professor Trevor Potts, Hunter S. Thompson’s son Juan Thompson, playwright Kenneth Jones, and more! More info…

Books on the Chopping Block
September 28 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

Free Dramatic Readings by City Lit Theater Company of excerpts from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual freedom.

Today’s event:

Friday 9/28, 1:00PM – DePaul
2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL

More info…

Banned Books Battle
September 28 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
Roger B. Francis Branch Library, 52655 N. Ironwood Rd.
South Bend, IN 46635 United States

Wrap up Banned Books Week by testing your knowledge of America’s most frequently challenged books at the Francis branch (52655 N. Ironwood Rd. South Bend, IN). Pizza provided! Teams of 4-7 recommended. Individuals are welcome and will be assigned to a group. Prizes awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. More info…

Annual Banned Books Read Aloud
September 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT
Foggy Pine Books, 471 W. King St
Boone, NC 28607

Every year we gather together to discuss the past year’s most banned books and books that received backlash in our own community. We also invite community members to sign up to read a selection from a favorite banned book. Each reader discusses why their book was important to them and how they would’ve been affected if they’d never been allowed to read it. More info…

Saboteurs Café a Pub Trivia Night: Literary Rebels
September 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT
Brick and Mortar Brewing Company, 212 E Washington St
Suffolk, VA 23434 United States

On this date, we bring you a Pub Trivia Night for adults focused on banned books and literary rebels. Teams will compete in this literary themed trivia, as well as have the opportunity to enter a costume contest for the best dressed banned book character or author. Prizes awarded for trivia winners and best dressed! Limit 6 players per team. More info…

Open Road Media Supports the Banned Books Week Coalition

Between Sunday, September 23, and Saturday, September 29, Open Road Media is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of 36 challenged and banned books to the Banned Books Week Coalition!

You can find the list of books that are part of the initiative at the Early Bird Books website here. It includes books that were burned, such as Albert Einstein’s Essays in Humanism; books that were banned, such as Pulitzer prize winner The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck; books that were censored, such as From Here to Eternity by James Jones; and books that were challenged, such as Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon and The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

With 36 titles to choose from, you’re certain to find a book to suit your tastes! Follow the links in the article to purchase the e-book from your preferred vendor, and a portion of the sale will be donated to the Banned Books Week Coalition to support our work defending — and celebrating — the freedom to read!

Check out the list here: https://earlybirdbooks.com/banned-challenged-and-censored-books

Events Spotlight: September 27

Just a few days left in Banned Books Week! How are you celebrating the right to read? Here are a few suggestions for events around the country!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are celebrating today…

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Image Comics Livestream: Grace Ellis
Twitch, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET

Image Comics is celebrating Banned Books Week with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association by producing a week of Library Livestreams featuring creators Nick Dragotta (EAST OF WEST), Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK, Lumberjanes), Pornsak Pichetshote (INFIDEL), Charles Soule (CURSE WORDS), and Skottie Young (I HATE FAIRYLAND, BULLY WARS, MIDDLEWEST).

Simply visit the Image Comics Twitch page at https://www.twitch.tv/imagecomics. All webinars will run from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST and will include a discussion between moderator and creator for 40-45 minutes; followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A participation with live audience. No registration is required to view these livestreams.

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign (all week)

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Project Censored (all week)

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

Penguin Random House Instagram Sweepstakes Benefitting We Need Diverse Books (all week)

This year, Penguin Random House is highlighting quotes from books that have been challenged or banned in a social media sweepstakes competition, open to participants who repost these quotes or tag a friend and comment with the hashtags #BannedBooksWeek and #Sweepstakes. For every entry, Penguin Random House will donate one book – up to 5,000 total – to We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

To participate in this campaign, follow @PenguinRandomHouse on Instagram.

More info…

Other Events

Lifting the Curtain: Theatre and Censorship (British Library)
September 27 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB United Kingdom

With Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Richard Eyre, Gillian Slovo and Ella Hickson

50 years since the Lord Chamberlain was stripped of his power to censor plays, we examine playwriting in the UK and freedom of expression.

Join director Richard Eyre and playwrights Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Gillian Slovo and Ella Hickson, to explore the development of British playwriting since the end of censorship in 1968. They consider the circumstances which led to the end of theatre censorship, whether the change in legislation heralded a change in artistic expression at the end of the 1960s, and notable productions which have caused controversy since. Has censorship in this country continued despite the end of legislation? In what other ways do writers today find what they want to say shaped and manipulate by others? More info…

Indy Celebrates the Freedom to Read!
September 27 @ 12:00 pm – October 2 @ 8:00 pm EDT
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, 340 N Senate Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46260 United States

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is celebrating the freedom to read and expression of ideas during Banned Books Week! This year, Ball State University English professor Rai Peterson will be living in the front window of KVML as our prisoner. For the entire week she will be imprisoned behind a wall of banned books, while joining the community in exploring censorship and challenged works. More info…

Lunch+Learn with Laura Moriarty: Censorship
September 27 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, 1122 Commercial Ave.
Emporia, KS 66801 United States

Banned Books Week is recognized Sept. 23-29, 2018. New York Times bestselling author Laura Moriarty will speak about censorship. More info…

Panel Discussion
September 27 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm PDT
Mt. San Antonio College Library, 1100 N. Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789 United States

In this panel discussion, two presenters will discuss unique aspects of silencing voices:

  • The Long Civil Rights/Chicanx Movement
  • Four Dangerous Works

There will be time for Q&A following the presentations. More info…

Celebrating All Stories
September 27 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT
Cambridge Public Library – O’Neill Branch, 70 Rindge Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140 United States

Come to a family read-out in celebration of Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read. Activities for a range of ages will relate to intellectual freedom and opposing censorship. More info…

Books on the Chopping Block
September 27 @ 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm CDT
Multiple, Chicago, IL United States

Free Dramatic Readings by City Lit Theater Company of excerpts from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual freedom.

Today’s events:

Thursday, 9/27, 4:00PM – Lincoln-Belmont Branch – Chicago Public Library
1659 W. Melrose St., Chicago, IL

Thursday 9/27, 7:00PM – Evanston Public Library
1709 Orrington Ave., Evanston, IL

Banned Books Out Loud at the Cranston Public Library
September 27 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
William Hall Library, 1825 Broad Street
Cranston, RI 02905 United States

The ACLU of RI and Cranston Public Library are honoring Banned Books Week (September 23-29) and the freedom to read with an event to educate people about books, the first amendment and censorship. The program will feature Rhode Island authors reading short passages from their favorite banned books. This program is free and open to the public.

Our confirmed participants include:

Adam Braver
Mary Cappello
Thalia Field
Rick Moody
Eleni Sikelianos
Mike Stanton
Glenn Stout
Jean Walton
Michael Willhoite

A brief Q&A will follow the readings. This program is free and open to all. Light refreshments will be served. More info…

Exploring Freedom of Expression
September 27 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EDT
Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States

Chapel Hill Public Library hosts a lively conversation about the importance of intellectual freedom, the negative effects of censorship, and the need for authentic voices and storytelling in all forms of writing. Featured speakers include Author Dr. Zelda Lockhart and Cartoonist/Rapper/Multimedia Artist Keith Knight. More info…

Banned Bookopoly
September 27 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
Cuyahoga County Public Library Beachwood Branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd
Beachwood, OH 44122 United States

Celebrate Banned Books Week and test your knowledge of challenged books. Come prepared to participate in challenges, journey through a giant board game and maybe win a prize. Light snacks served.

Register here: http://cuyahoga.libnet.info/event/785322?registration=true

Banned Books Quiz V
September 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm AKDT
49th State Brewing Co., 717 W 3rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501 United States

It’s time for our Fifth Annual Banned Books Pub Quiz! Join Anchorage Public Library as we celebrate our freedom to discover! This year’s pub quiz promises to be better than ever. Questions will cover all areas of censorship throughout history, so be prepared for anything. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Not Last, and Best Team Name. Teams should have no more than eight people. In the spirit of Banned Books Week, this quiz will not be censored. Expect strong language and imagery. More info…

10 Reasons Books Are Challenged and Banned

Books and plays are challenged for any number of reasons. Let’s take a look at ten of those reasons and the books on ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books list for 2017 and previous years that were attacked for these reasons…

LGBTQ Content

In 2017, several books were challenged because of LGBTQ content. Drama, a bestselling young adult graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier was challenged for the inclusion of LGBTQ characters. Alex Gino’s award-winning middle grades book George and Jazz Jenning’s autobiographical picture book I Am Jazz were both attacked because of their transgender main characters. And Tango Makes Three, a children’s picture book based on the real-life story of two male penguins that raise a chick together, was challenged for featuring a same-sex relationship.

Other books challenged for LGBTQ content:

Sexually Explicit

In 2017, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was challenged for being sexually explicit.

The following books have also been challenged or banned for being sexually explicit:

  • This One Summer
  • Drama
  • Two Boys Kissing
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Big Hard Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • Habibi by Craig Thompson
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Profanity

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give were among the titles attacked for profanity in 2017.

In previous years, the books challenged for profanity include:

  • This One Summer
  • Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk

Racism

Racism is among the various reasons that The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been challenged. The all-ages comic series Bone by Jeff Smith, a hero’s journey that centers on a trio of three Shmoo-like creatures, their human companions, a giant red dragon, and sundry fantasy characters, has also been challenged for racism.

Other titles accused of racism:

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Violence

Violence is a popular reason for challenging books. In 2017, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and To Kill a Mockingbird for challenged for violence.

Other titles attacked for violence:

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  • The Bluest Eye
  • Bone
  • Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Hunger Gamestrilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Religious Viewpoint

Religious viewpoint has been used to attack everything from The Holy Bible to I Am Jazz.

Other books challenged for religious viewpoint:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • The Hunger Games
  • Bless Me Ultima
  • The Kite Runner
  • Beloved

Sex Education

Sex education is a touchy subject for many. Many schools regulate materials used for sex education, which means would-be censors might use that designation to try to restrict access to books that teach kids about their bodies. In 2017, Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth’s award-winning Sex Is a Funny Word was challenged for the very thing that it is intended to do: educate young readers about sex and gender. I Am Jazz has previously been attacked as being a sex education book in an attempt to limit access to it.

Other books attacked for educational content about sex and gender:

  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
  • It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  • My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
  • It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families by Robie Harris

Suicide

In 2017, a popular Netflix series triggered attacks on Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, a bestselling young adult book that explores teen suicide. The book was banned in multiple school districts around the country. The Perks of Being A Wallflower has also been challenged for the content related to suicide.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Another reason that The Hate U Give was attacked in 2017 was the depiction of drug use.

The depiction of drug and alcohol use was also cited in challenges to the following books:

  • This One Summer
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • A Stolen Life
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
  • Looking for Alaska
  • Thirteen Reasons Why
  • Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
  • Internet Girls series by Lauren Myracle

Nudity

Unfortunately, some people equate nudity in books with obscenity, leading to challenges to the material. Comics and illustrated books are especially vulnerable to these challenges because they contain static images. Books that have been challenged for nudity include:

  • Habibi
  • It’s Perfectly Normal
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
  • The Color of Earth trilogy by Kim Dong Hwa
  • My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy
  • Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Brave New World
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  • Internet Girls
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Art courtesy of the American Library Association. View ALA’s top ten challenged books lists here.

Events Spotlight: September 26

We’ve reached the midpoint of Banned Books Week. What are you doing to celebrate today? Here are a few suggestions for events around the country!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are celebrating today…

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Drag Queen Story Hour Reads Banned Books
Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, New York, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. ET

Drag Queen Story Hour is just what it sounds like–drag queens read children’s books and lead creative activities promoting imagination and freedom of self-expression. In honor of Banned Books Week, we’ll be reading books from the ALA’s Top Ten Banned Books of 2017 list. Half of the books on the list were challenged for LGBTQ themes, so this story hour could not be more needed to ensure that these important stories are not silenced. Co-hosted by Drag Queen Story Hour and the National Coalition Against Censorship. All families are welcome to join us at the Brooklyn Public Library! https://www.facebook.com/events/721323064882141/

Image Comics Livestream: Nick Dragotta
Twitch, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET

Image Comics is celebrating Banned Books Week with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association by producing a week of Library Livestreams featuring creators Nick Dragotta (EAST OF WEST), Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK, Lumberjanes), Pornsak Pichetshote (INFIDEL), Charles Soule (CURSE WORDS), and Skottie Young (I HATE FAIRYLAND, BULLY WARS, MIDDLEWEST).

Simply visit the Image Comics Twitch page at https://www.twitch.tv/imagecomics. All webinars will run from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST and will include a discussion between moderator and creator for 40-45 minutes; followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A participation with live audience. No registration is required to view these livestreams.

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Golden, Colorado
Miners Alley Playhouse, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. MT

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from Chicago, Spring Awakening, Cabaret, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works. https://pen.org/event/banned-together-denver-co/

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Los Angeles, California
Skylight Theatre, 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. PT

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from Chicago, Spring Awakening, Cabaret, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-together-a-censorship-cabaret-tickets-50217324369

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign (all week)

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Project Censored (all week)

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

Penguin Random House Instagram Sweepstakes Benefitting We Need Diverse Books (all week)

This year, Penguin Random House is highlighting quotes from books that have been challenged or banned in a social media sweepstakes competition, open to participants who repost these quotes or tag a friend and comment with the hashtags #BannedBooksWeek and #Sweepstakes. For every entry, Penguin Random House will donate one book – up to 5,000 total – to We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

To participate in this campaign, follow @PenguinRandomHouse on Instagram.

More info…

Other Events

UK Drill & Grime–What’s the Problem?
September 26 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm BST
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road
London, EC1R 3GA United Kingdom

How is music that reflects the lives of marginalised youths on inner-city estates treated in the UK?

Part of Free Word’s upcoming THIS IS PRIVATE Season, launching 5 September 2018.

“This is how it’s been from the beginning, it’s just that everyone is hearing about it now.”

South London rapper Giggs spoke out in 2010 about the forced cancellations of his shows by the Met Police using the risk assessment Form 696. 8 years later, Form 696 has been scrapped, yet UK drill groups are being banned from YouTube and in some cases prohibited from making music without police approval, in case of lyrics that “encourage violence”.

How is music that reflects the lives of marginalised youths on inner-city estates treated in the UK, and what does this say about the censoring of certain voices and communities? With Grime MC P Money, DJ A.G, Drill Producer Carns Hill and Journalist Ciaran Thapar. More info…

Banned Books Read-Out
September 26 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm CDT
Texas State University, 601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666 United States

Alkek Library will observe Banned Books Week 2018 by celebrating our freedom to read during the annual Read-Out. Alkek Library invites the Texas State community to read from their favorite Banned Book on September 26th, 2018. Readings will take place from 10am-2pm in the Alkek Library Open Theater on the main floor. We will have a selection of books available for you to choose or bring your own. Sign up for a 5 minute reading spot here: http://bit.ly/readout2018

Don’t feel like reading? That’s okay! Join the audience and listen. More info…

Banning Books Silences Stories Workshop & Freeze Mob
September 26 @ 11:15 am – 12:05 pm CDT
University of West Florida John C. Pace Library, 11000 University Parkway, Bldg. 32
Pensacola, FL 32514 United States

Banned Books Week gives students the opportunity to support free expression and intellectual freedom. Books tell stories and everyone’s stories should have the right to be heard! Don’t be silent, speak out against censorship by joining us Wednesday, September 26th, as we celebrate Banned Books Week and promote the freedom to read. Our “Banning Books Silences Stories” workshop will start at 11:15 in the Great Good Place of the University of West Florida John C. Pace Library followed by a fun 3-minute reading “freeze mob” on the UWF Cannon Green at noon. Everyone is welcome to participate in either or both events. More info…

Indy Celebrates the Freedom to Read!
September 26 @ 12:00 pm – October 1 @ 8:00 pm EDT
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, 340 N Senate Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46260 United States

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is celebrating the freedom to read and expression of ideas during Banned Books Week!

This year, Ball State University English professor Rai Peterson will be living in the front window of KVML as our prisoner. For the entire week she will be imprisoned behind a wall of banned books, while joining the community in exploring censorship and challenged works.

From September 24-29, we invite you to join our prisoner for readings and discussions with guests such as Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, IUPUI professor Trevor Potts, Hunter S. Thompson’s son Juan Thompson, playwright Kenneth Jones, and more!

Not only are we supporting banned books, but also mental health awareness and our year of programming theme Lonesome No More. Kurt Vonnegut’s daughter Nanette will share her family’s story and struggle with mental health challenges. More info…

Afternoon Conversations Real Life Rebel: Telling Her Story
September 26 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
Morgan Memorial Library, 443 W Washington St
Suffolk, VA 23434 United States

Margaret Tolbert will discuss her book, “Resilience in the Face of Adversity,” about growing up in Suffolk during the Civil Rights struggle and overcoming adversity during that time. More info…

UNLV Libraries Banned Books Buffet
September 26 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm PDT
UNLV Lied Library, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89145 United States

Explore a banned or challenged book at the UNLV University Libraries Banned Books Buffet on Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 2-4 p.m. in the Amargosa Room at Lied Library in Las Vegas. Celebrate your freedom to read and right to choose during Banned Books Week!

Every year there are hundreds of attempts to remove banned books from schools and libraries. The Banned Books Buffet is an annual event celebrating your right to choose what to read. Explore books like Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, and Captain Underpants. Fight censorship, read a banned or challenged book, learn about intellectual freedom, have a snack, and more at this event. More info…

Banned Books Reading
September 26 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm EDT
Muskegon Community College, 221 S. Quarterline Rd
Muskegon, MI 49442 United States

In conjunction with Banned Books Week on Sept. 23-29, 2018, Muskegon Community College will host an event on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the Blue and Gold Room. Excerpts will be read from books that have been challenged and banned in schools, libraries, and communities across the nation. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. More info…

Banned Books Week Discussion
September 26 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm EDT
Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System, 823 Telfair St
Augusta, GA 30901 United States

Program For Teens ~ Grades 6-12
Discuss your favorite banned books, the reasons why they were banned, and ways we can celebrate these books and our freedom to read. We’ll also showcase the Banned Books Week Virtual Read Out videos you create! More info…

Escape Room – Banned Books Week
September 26 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT
Central Branch Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22201 United States

Celebrate your freedom to read with a Banned Books Week-inspired escape room challenge!

It seems some of our favorite novels have begun to mysteriously disappear from our stacks. We need your help solving a series of riddles, puzzles, and clues to figure out where they have gone. If you are up to the task, please inquire immediately!

It’s a great chance to bond with family & friends.

Think you can solve the mystery in time?

For ages 16 and up. Register your 4-6 person group for 1 session:

This is an Escape Room style, timed game. There will not be a room to escape – only puzzles to solve.

More info…

I Totes Read Banned Books Craft
September 26 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
The Connection Branch Library, 2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202 United States

Decorate a tote bag with your favorite quote from a banned book. Support freedom of expression and fashionably rock your reading uncensored! All supplies provided. More info…

Anarchy in the Stacks: DIY Book Making Workshop
September 26 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
Morgan Memorial Library, 443 W Washington St
Suffolk, VA 23434 United States

On this date, we bring you a DIY Workshop open to adults and teens interested in the “forbidden” craft of bookmaking. All materials provided. Registration is required. More info…

Banned Book Celebration
September 26 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT
Book Cottage, 1901 Horton Rd
Jackson, MI 49203 United States

Join us in discussing your favorite banned book. We will talk about why they were banned and celebrate how many you have read! Food will be available at the Whimsical Cottage Cafe, this event is free! More info…

 

Person’s silhouette entering the backlit hall

Banned Books Week Lecture: Utopian Communities
September 26 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
Shirlington Branch Library, 4200 Campbell Avenue
Arlington, VA 22206 United States

What is the history of utopianism and what kinds of experiments have there been in the U.S.? Why do a few succeed, but most fail? What social conditions make people want to escape into a utopia?

Celebrate Banned Books Week and get the answers to these questions in a talk with Mary McCutcheon, a former professor of anthropology at George Mason University from 1988 to 2004. Learn about controversial utopian thinkers and writers. More info…

Banned Books Week Talk
September 26 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm MDT
Logan Library, 255 N Main St
Logan, UT 84321 United States

Join us for “Intellectual Freedom: A Value for the Left and the Right,” a presentation by Wanda Huffaker, Chair of the Utah Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Sponsored by the Logan Library and the Friends of the Logan Library. More info…

Books on the Chopping Block
September 26 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm CDT
Multiple, Chicago, IL United States

Free Dramatic Readings by City Lit Theater Company of excerpts from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual freedom.

Today’s event:
Wednesday 9/26, 7:30PM – Mt. Prospect Library
10 S. Emerson St., Mount Prospect, IL

Events Spotlight: September 25

What are you doing to celebrate the third day of Banned Books Week? Here are a few suggestions for events around the country!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are celebrating today…

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Speaking Out: Voicing Movements in the Face of Censorship
Webinar, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT

Join the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, SAGE Publishing, and Index on Censorship for “Speak Out: Voicing Movements in the Face of Censorship.” In this Banned Books Week webinar, authors will engage in conversation on writing, activism, and speaking out. How have they used their words to speak out about something that has been silenced? What is the difference between being a voice of and for a movement? And what will it take for America to be censorship free in both oral and written word?

Our featured speakers include:

  • Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of various fiction works including Little & Lion, a story that touches on the intersection of race, sexuality, and religion
  • Alex Gino, author of George, an award-winning and heartwarming middle grade book about a transgender girl
  • Marni Brown, acclaimed author of Gendered Lives, Sexual Beings, a textbook lauded for its intersectional framework, and an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Georgia Gwinnett College

The webinar will be moderated by Jemimah Steinfield, Deputy Editor of the award-winning Index on Censorship magazine.

Register for the webinar at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6749024865921094915

Image Comics Livestream: Pornsak Pichetshote
Twitch, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET

Image Comics is celebrating Banned Books Week with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association by producing a week of Library Livestreams featuring creators Nick Dragotta (EAST OF WEST), Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK, Lumberjanes), Pornsak Pichetshote (INFIDEL), Charles Soule (CURSE WORDS), and Skottie Young (I HATE FAIRYLAND, BULLY WARS, MIDDLEWEST).

Simply visit the Image Comics Twitch page at https://www.twitch.tv/imagecomics. All webinars will run from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST and will include a discussion between moderator and creator for 40-45 minutes; followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A participation with live audience. No registration is required to view these livestreams.

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Buffalo, New York
Nichols School, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from Chicago, Spring Awakening, Cabaret, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works. Buffalo, NY, based actor, director, and theatre educator Kristen Tripp Kelley will direct Nichols high school students and alumni in a collection of previously censored scenes and songs. The ensemble is proud to join with Banned Together artists and citizens around the country in the promotion of our freedom of expression.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-together-2018-western-new-york-tickets-48878975331

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—St. Louis, Missouri
Tesseract Theatre, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. CT

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from Chicago, Spring Awakening, Cabaret, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-together-st-louis-tickets-49681392382

Censored: Inside the Lord Chamberlain’s Office (British Library)
September 25 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST
When: Tue 25 Sep 2018, 19:00 – 20:30
Where: Knowledge Centre The British Library 96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
Tickets: From £8 to £12 via British Library

50 years after the Lord Chamberlain’s Office stopped censoring British theatre,Kathryn Johnson, Steve Nicholson and Dan Rebellato shed light on the inner workings of the former ‘fun police’. They are joined by writer and director Vinay Patel, author of the smash-hit BBC drama Murdered by My Father, who writes a short scene especially for the occasion which is performed and censored on the night.

How did censorship used to work? How could playwrights play the system? And what was the cost of censorship for society? Drawing on a wealth of examples and anecdotes from the Lord Chamberlain’s archive, held by the British Library, our panel of experts discover what would have got you into trouble (and clever ways you might have got around it…)

Hosted by The British Library as part of Banned Books Week UK 2018. More info…

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign (all week)

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Project Censored (all week)

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

Other Events

Censura a impressos no Brasil: da colônia aos dias atuais – Censorship to printed in Brazil: from the colony to the present day
September 25 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm UTC-4
Biblioteca Central da Universidade de Brasília, Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro, Gleba A, UnB
Asa Norte, Brasília – DF, 70910-900 Brazil

This lecture will present the multiple facets of censorship of books and periodicals in Brazil, going through all historical periods since the colonization. There will also be some censored titles that we have in the Rare Books Sector, such as the periodicals Correio Braziliense periodicals (1808), Pasquim e Movimento, the book Mein Kampf of Hitler, among others. More info…

Banned Books Week at Marist College: Uncensored Readings & Banned Book Bingo
September 25 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
Marist College, 3399 North Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 United States

Join us for Banned Book Bingo and Uncensored Readings! Banned Book Bingo will take place on Monday, September 24th, 7 – 9:00 pm in the Cabaret and Uncensored Readings will be on Monday, September 24th and Tuesday, September 25th from 12 – 4:00 pm in the Library Lobby. If you would like to get involved as a reader, please email Emily.Doyle@marist.edu. Also, don’t forget to check out a book this month from our Banned Books display that will be on the main floor of the library during Banned Books Week! More info…

Indy Celebrates the Freedom to Read!
September 25 @ 12:00 pm – September 30 @ 8:00 pm EDT
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, 340 N Senate Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46260 United States

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is celebrating the freedom to read and expression of ideas during Banned Books Week!

This year, Ball State University English professor Rai Peterson will be living in the front window of KVML as our prisoner. For the entire week she will be imprisoned behind a wall of banned books, while joining the community in exploring censorship and challenged works.

From September 24-29, we invite you to join our prisoner for readings and discussions with guests such as Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, IUPUI professor Trevor Potts, Hunter S. Thompson’s son Juan Thompson, playwright Kenneth Jones, and more!

Not only are we supporting banned books, but also mental health awareness and our year of programming theme Lonesome No More. Kurt Vonnegut’s daughter Nanette will share her family’s story and struggle with mental health challenges. More info…

Harvard Law School 3rd Annual Read-Out
September 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT
Harvard Law School Library: front steps, 1545 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

Bring your lunch and join us on the steps of the HLS Library as members of the Harvard community read excerpts from our favorite banned books. We’ll be reading from classic literature, children’s picture books, and everything in between! More info…

Film Viewing: Good Morning, Vietnam
September 25 @ 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm PDT
Mt. San Antonio College Library, 1100 N. Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789 United States

In honor of Banned Books Week, Mt. SAC students voted to watch the film, Good Morning, Vietnam.  Join us to watch the film and see how individuals deal with attempts to censor the news. More info…

Banned Books Out Loud
September 25 @ 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm EDT
Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906 United States

Library Staff will be reading aloud from Banned Books in the Children’s Library at the Rochambeau Library. Kids five and up may stop in to enjoy excerpts from Banned Books and color along! More info…

Books on the Chopping Block
September 25 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

Free Dramatic Readings by City Lit Theater Company of excerpts from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual freedom.

Today’s event:
Tuesday 9/25, 4:30PM – Edgewater Branch
6000 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL

More info…

Intellectual Freedom Panel
September 25 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT
Kingsville Public Library, 6006 Academy Street
Kingsville, OH 44048 United States

Join us September 25th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM in the Simak Welcome Center to engage with our community panel members as we discuss the importance of your right to read! Esteemed panel members for the evening will be: KSUA Library Sciences Professor Amy Thomas, LEADERship Ashtabula County Director Laura Jones, State Representative and former Teacher Dr. John Patterson, KSUA Adjunct Professor of Justice Studies Dr. Richard Dana, and retired Geneva Area City Schools Superintendent,Mary Zappitelli. More info…

Banned Books Jeopardy
September 25 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT
Ezra Lehman Memorial Library, 1871 Old Main
Shippenburg, PA 17257 United States

We’ll take banned books for $1000, Alex. More info…

Banned Books Week Discussion: The Freedom to Read
September 25 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm PDT
Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street
Lake Oswego, OR 97034 United States

Our local school librarian will lead a discussion, co-facilitated with students from the two local high schools, of the freedom to read and ways it is threatened. The audience will discuss books that have been challenged or banned in recent years, with a focus on the ALA’s top 10 most challenged books of 2017. Why were these books challenged, and what are the best ways to respond to those challenges. Each of the high-school students will also talk about her or his favorite banned or challenged book. More info…

Banned Books Week UK

Banned Books Week isn’t just observed here in the United States — it’s a world-wide celebration of the freedom to read! Banned Books Week UK has brought the party to the United Kingdom with a series of cool events.

Banned Books Week UK is coordinated by Banned Books Week Coalition member Index on Censorship, along with The British Library, English PEN, Free Word Centre, Islington Library and Heritage Services, Media Diversified, The Publishers Association, the Royal Society of Literature, Hachette UK and Libraries Connected in association with the ALA.

If you have the chance, check out the following Banned Books Week UK events during the annual celebration of the right to read! Learn more at https://www.bannedbooksweek.org.uk/

Censored: Inside the Lord Chamberlain’s Office (British Library)

When: Tuesday 25 September 2018, 19:00 – 20:30
Where: Knowledge Centre The British Library 96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
Tickets: From £8 to £12 via British Library
Additional information: Web |+44 (0)1937 546546 | boxoffice@bl.uk

50 years after the Lord Chamberlain’s Office stopped censoring British theatre, Kathryn Johnson, Steve Nicholson and Dan Rebellato shed light on the inner workings of the former ‘fun police’. They are joined by writer and director Vinay Patel, author of the smash-hit BBC drama Murdered by My Father, who writes a short scene especially for the occasion which is performed and censored on the night.

How did censorship used to work? How could playwrights play the system? And what was the cost of censorship for society? Drawing on a wealth of examples and anecdotes from the Lord Chamberlain’s archive, held by the British Library, our panel of experts discover what would have got you into trouble (and clever ways you might have got around it…)

Speaking Out: Voicing Movements in the Face of Censorship

When: Tuesday 25 September 7:30 p.m. BST/2:30 p.m. EDT/1:30 p.m. CDT/11:30 a.m. PDT
Where: Online Webinar, https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6749024865921094915
Tickets: Free

Whether focused on race, gender equality, sexual orientation or mental health, movements are growing at a rapid speed due to digital media, demonstrations and published works. Yet the growth and prevalence of advocacy can make it easy to forget that these voices rose above their silencers’ attempt at censorship.

Join the Index on Censorship, American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and SAGE Publishing for “Speak Out: Voicing Movements in the Face of Censorship.” In this Banned Books Weekwebinar, authors will engage in conversation on writing, activism and speaking out. How have they used their words to speak out about something that has been silenced? What is the difference between being a voice of and for a movement? And what will it take for the USA to be censorship free in both oral and written word?

Storytelling Session: Blickling Estate, National Trust

National Trust | Blickling Estate | Tuesday 25 September | 12:45 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Head over to Blickling Estate to explore why books are banned, censored, altered and redacted, with particular reference to books written by female authors including:

Children’s Books: Noddy, Harry Potter, Anne Frank’s Diary, Black Beauty, Blubber, Harriet the Spy and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Adult Books: The Handmaid’s Tale, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Well of Loneliness, The Country Girls, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, The Color Purple, Frankenstein and Wild Swans.

Families are very welcome on both sessions.

Normal admission applies, but there is limited space in the room, so entry will be on a first-come, first serve basis.

More information here.

UK Drill & Grime – What’s the Problem?

Wednesday 26 September, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Free Word Centre.

How is music that reflects the lives of marginalised youths on inner-city estates treated in the UK?

Part of Free Word’s upcoming THIS IS PRIVATE Season, launching 5 September 2018.

“This is how it’s been from the beginning, it’s just that everyone is hearing about it now.”

South London rapper Giggs spoke out in 2010 about the forced cancellations of his shows by the Met Police using the risk assessment Form 696. 8 years later, Form 696 has been scrapped, yet UK drill groups are being banned from YouTube and in some cases prohibited from making music without police approval, in case of lyrics that “encourage violence”.

How is music that reflects the lives of marginalised youths on inner-city estates treated in the UK, and what does this say about the censoring of certain voices and communities? With Grime MC P Money, DJ A.G, Drill Producer Carns Hill and Journalist Ciaran Thapar.

This is a Free Word and TRENCH pre-season event for THIS IS PRIVATE, and part of Banned Books Week UK.

Book Tickets HERE.

Censorship and Its Relationship to Fake News: Hull Library

Wednesday 26 September 2018 | 19:30 – 21:00 BST

Join Hull Library for a lively panel debate with our guests from the political, arts & media sector to discuss free speech, fake news and censorship in the age of the internet and social media.

Our panel of guests include:

  • David Mark/ Chair, crime writer, ex-journalist
  • Jenny Howard –Coombs/ Executive Director, Joint CEO, Freedom Festival
  • Professor James Connelly/ Professor of Political Theory, University of Hull
  • Angus Young/ Local Government Reporter, Hull Daily Mail

Tickets cost £3 per person – book online now!

+ Keep an eye out for our SMUT MOBILE!

The ‘Smut Mobile’ was first created in 1961 by the Mothers United For Decency group in Oklahoma, and was a trailer displaying books that they considered immoral. They parked the ‘Smut Mobile’ outside courthouses and public buildings to protest against indecency and to demand the removal of any books or magazines containing ‘smut’.

Our ‘Smut Mobile’, along with some ‘indignant mothers’, will tour around a number of our branch libraries, to protest against the amount of smut in our libraries!

Thursday 27th September & Friday 28th September 2018

  • Thursday,10am to 12pm- Fred Moore Library, Wold Road, Hull, HU5 5UN
  • Thursday, 2pm to 4pm- Ings Library, Savoy Road, Hull, HU8 0TY
  • Friday,10am to 12pm- Freedom Centre Library, 95 Preston Rd, Hull, HU9 3QB
  • Friday, 2pm to 4pm- East Park Library, 453 Holderness Rd, Hull, HU8 8JU

Lifting the Curtain: Theatre and Censorship (British Library)

When: Thursday 27 September 2018, 19:00 – 20:30
Where: Knowledge Centre, The British Library 96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
Tickets: From £10 to £15 via British Library
Additional information: Web | +44 (0)1937 546546 | boxoffice@bl.uk

With Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Richard Eyre, Gillian Slovo and Ella Hickson

50 years since the Lord Chamberlain was stripped of his power to censor plays, we examine playwriting in the UK and freedom of expression.

Join director Richard Eyre and playwrights Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Gillian Slovo and Ella Hickson, to explore the development of British playwriting since the end of censorship in 1968. They consider the circumstances which led to the end of theatre censorship, whether the change in legislation heralded a change in artistic expression at the end of the 1960s, and notable productions which have caused controversy since. Has censorship in this country continued despite the end of legislation? In what other ways do writers today find what they want to say shaped and manipulate by others?

Beyond Censorship: Power, Silencing and Resistance

When: Friday 28 September, 7:00 -9:00 p.m.
Where: Lady Violet Room, National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place SW1A 2HE (Directions)
Tickets: Free. Registration required via Eventbrite

Please join the Authors’ Club, Media Diversified, the Jhalak Prize and Index on Censorship for a discussion of the ways in which dissenting voices are structurally silenced and the many ways of resistance.

A distinguished panel of writers will share their own experiences and works on how institutions and structures operate in subtle legal ways to silence voices that are considered discomfiting, challenging and dangerous as well as ways in which contemporary writing and publishing continues to find ways of resisting such unofficial forms of censorship.

Censorship with English PEN & Royal Court Theatre

Friday 28 September, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
BOOK TICKETS

In 1968, the Royal Court Theatre helped bring about the abolition of the Lord Chamberlain’s censorship powers. But even today, 50 years later, we continue to be challenged by the complexities of freedom of political expression and self-censorship.

This panel discussion explores how artists and programmers continue to reconcile truth-telling with genuine political jeopardy and contemporary cultural politics, both nationally and internationally.

Panellists will include Anthony Burton (chair, Royal Court Theatre), Anthony Neilson (playwright and director) and Anna Wakulik (playwright). The event will be chaired by Ritula Shah.

The event, co-hosted by The Royal Court Theatre, is part of this year’s Banned Books Week UK, a week long celebration of the freedom to read.

Storytelling Session: Blickling Estate, National Trust

National Trust | Blickling Estate | Saturday 29 September | 12:45 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

As well as touching on Winnie the Pooh (part of The Word Defiant installation), we’ll be focusing on children’s poetry book ‘A Light in the Attic’ by Shel Silverstein. This was the first children’s book to appear on the New York Times best sellers list, whilst at the same time topping the list of the most frequently challenged books – although the book itself was never actually banned, several of the poems constantly caused controversy.

Families are very welcome on both sessions.

Normal admission applies, but there is limited space in the room, so entry will be on a first-come, first serve basis.

More information here.

Events Spotlight: September 24

What are you doing to celebrate Banned Books Week today? Here are a few suggestions for events around the country!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are celebrating today…

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Banned Together
Joe’s Pub, New York, New York, 7:00 p.m. ET

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from ChicagoSpring AwakeningCabaretRent, and Angels in America, among other notable works. https://www.dldf.org/bannedtogether/

Tickets: https://www.publictheater.org/Tickets/Calendar/PlayDetailsCollection/Joes-Pub/2018/B/Banned-Together/

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Public Library, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from ChicagoSpring AwakeningCabaretRent, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with contextual commentary by DLDF president John Weidman. Award winning director Ilyse Robbins will be directing the evening alongside a terrific cast.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-together-2018-boston-tickets-48878112751

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign (all week)

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Project Censored (all week)

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

Other Events

Banned Books Week at Marist College: Uncensored Readings & Banned Book Bingo
September 24 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
Marist College, 3399 North Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 United States

Join us for Banned Book Bingo and Uncensored Readings! Banned Book Bingo will take place on Monday, September 24th, 7 – 9:00 pm in the Cabaretand Uncensored Readings will be on Monday, September 24th and Tuesday, September 25th from 12 – 4:00 pm in the Library Lobby. If you would like to get involved as a reader, please email Emily.Doyle@marist.edu. Also, don’t forget to check out a book this month from our Banned Books display that will be on the main floor of the library during Banned Books Week! More info…

Books on the Chopping Block
September 24 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
Free Dramatic Readings by City Lit Theater Company of excerpts from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual freedom.

Today’s event:

Monday 9/24, 6:30PM – Budlong Woods Library
5630 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL

More info…

Pushing Boundaries: Hidden History Walking Tour
September 24 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm EDT
Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street, 476 5th Avenue (Entrance on 42nd Street)
New York, NY 10018 United States

In honor of Banned Books Week, discover the sometimes scandalous history hidden in plain sight in midtown Manhattan. Librarians will lead a tour of landmarks in and around Bryant Park. Rain or Shine. Space is limited | Open to Adults 18 and over. Advanced registration is required: Pushing Boundaries: Hidden History Walking Tour

More info…

Banned Books Trivia
September 24 @ 5:15 pm – 8:00 pm MDT
MAP Brewing Co, 510 Manley Rd.
Bozeman, MT 59715 United States

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. As part of the week’s activities, ACLU Montana, Bozeman Public Library, Country Bookshelf and MSU Library have partnered to host Banned Books Trivia at MAP Brewing. The free event is part of Map’s Community Pint Night and 50 cents from each beer sold will be donated to the Freedom to Read Foundation. Kent Davis, writer, actor, and Montana State University Honors College faculty member, will MC the event and Jessica Hahl of Country Bookshelf will co-host. More info…

Edible Banned Books Festival
September 24 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm EDT
Handley Library, 100 West Piccadilly St.
Winchester, VA 22604 United States

Professional and amateur bakers unite against the attempts to ban books! Create a banned book cake masterpiece. Some materials provided. Local patrons and community partners will vote for noteworthy banned book delicacies and bid on their favorite cakes to then take home as we celebrate our freedom to read. All money raised will be donated to Literacy Volunteers of the Winchester Area. More info…

Banned Books Bingo
September 24 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT
Ezra Lehman Memorial Library, 1871 Old Main
Shippenburg, PA 17257 United States

Join us for bingo, banned books style! The first 10 attendees will receive a banned-books week button. More info…

Banned Books Picnic
September 24 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
Central Branch Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22201 United States

Join us after work to hang out with your friends and listen to passages from challenged and banned books, read by some of your favorite librarians.

Bring your blanket and a picnic dinner! The Picnic will be held in Quincy Park, on the lawn between the Central Library Auditorium and the soccer field. In the event of rain, we will move to the Auditorium. Please note: This event is for adults and mature teens only. More info…

Happy Banned Books Week!

Banning Books Silences StoriesThe celebration of reading is here! Banning books silences stories, so speak out against censorship all week at evens around the world!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completeing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are kicking off Banned Books Week…

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—San Francisco, California
Phoenix Theatre, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. PT

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from ChicagoSpring AwakeningCabaretRent, and Angels in America, among other notable works. https://pen.org/event/banned-together-san-francisco/

Rebellion Fun — Banned Books Week 
Hillsboro Brookwood Library Community Room, Hillsboro, Oregon, 3:00 – 4:00 pm. PT 

It’s the start of Banned Books Week, so come in for some rebellion fun. Take pictures with banned and challenged books. Find out about defending comic books and the First Amendment with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Enjoy food, games, and prizes! https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/departments/library

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Baltimore, Maryland
Zion Church of the City of Baltimore, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. ET

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, presents Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret. Join WYPR’s Tom Hall and talented local singers in a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. The performances will feature selections from ChicagoFun HomeSpring Awakening, and The Laramie Project,among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF President John Weidman. Light refreshments will be provided. https://pen.org/event/banned-together-baltimore-md/

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-together-2018-baltimore-tickets-48845131102

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Project Censored

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

September 23 Events Spotlight

Books on the Chopping Block
September 23 @ 2:00 pm CDT
Free Dramatic Readings by City Lit Theater Company of excerpts from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual freedom. The program lasts approximately 60 minutes and is taking place all week at locations round the Chicago area.

Today:
Sunday 9/23, 2:00PM – Sulzer Library
4455 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL

More info…

Kimberly Butler’s “CENSORED” Photo Exhibition Kicks Off “Banned Books Week”
September 23 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
SPACE38, 28 West 38th St., Storefront
New York, 10018 United States

“CENSORED” features 21 provocative photos from Kimberly Butler’s forthcoming book of the same name. The photos she chose for this unique exhibition illustrate that “banning books silences stories” – the theme of this year’s “Banned Books Week” event – and that everyone needs to speak out against censorship.  Butler’s “CENSORED” photos are “a personification of books that have all been banned at one time or another,” she explains, “with quotes from the books emblazoned across each person’s body.” More info…

To Kill a Mockingbird: Live Performance Featuring Mary Badham
September 23 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm EDT
The Lynn Theater at John Tyler Community College, 800 Charter Colony Parkway
Midlothian, VA 23114 United States

The Phantom Players and Director Tracey Frame are excited to bring Oscar-nominated actress Mary Badham to Richmond for an unprecedented theatrical performance of Harper Lee’s classic American novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, as adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel. This limited time engagement will run for three shows only, September 21-23, at the Lynn Theater on the Midlothian Campus of John Tyler Community College.

The 1962 movie starred Gregory Peck, who won the Oscar for Best Actor, and introduced audiences to a young actress named Mary Badham, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress; at the time, she was the youngest performer to be so honored. In a rare moment of life imitating art, Mary Badham will not be reprising her role as Scout, but evolving into Jean Louise Finch–the adult version of the same character she played as a child–who serves as the show’s narrator. This once-in-a-lifetime event will not be performed anywhere else and is likely to sell out quickly. More info…

Jeopardy and Q&A with Kathy Barco and Val Nye for Banned Books Week

September 23 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT

Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107

Kick off Banned Books Week with a Jeopardy style game about banned books and a Q&A with the authors of True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries; Kathy Barco and Valerie Nye. More info…

Talks on Tap: What Happens When you Read Banned Books
September 23 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
Brick and Mortar Brewing Company, 212 E Washington St
Suffolk, VA 23434 United States

Raise a pint and your intellect! Kick off Banned Books Week with Alicia DeFonzo, nonfiction writer and Lecturer of English at Old Dominion University, while exploring the topic of censorship in literature and the inevitable effects intellectual freedom has on children.

Brick & Mortar Brewing Company and Suffolk Public Library presents Talks on Tap, a guest lecture series with an informal flair. Sit back, relax, enjoy a beverage and learn something new to impress your friends with later. More info…

Uncensored: Banned Books Week Quiz–Hosted by Saqi Books
September 23 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm BST
The Book Club, 100 – 106, Leonard Street
London, EC2A 4RH United Kingdom

Join independent Publisher Saqi Books and Bidisha at The Book Club, Hoxton, to kick off Banned Books Week. Bring along a pen and your bookish friends and prepare to be shocked by the real and dangerous – and often ludicrous– state of book censorship past and present around the world.

There will be PRIZES (read ‘prizes’ as ‘books’) and approximately ten rounds of questions. Audience engagement actively encouraged. Heckles only accepted in the form of haiku. More info…

What Are You Doing for Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week kicks off on Sunday, but events celebrating the right to read are already underway! Are you still looking for something to do to honor challenged and banned books? We have a few ideas to get you started…

First, be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completeing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Banned Books Week Coalition Events Calendar

The members of the Banned Books Week Coalition have a number of events planned for the annual celebration of the right read! Show your support for their efforts defending the right to read by attending any of these great events, including the Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign, Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret, the Speaking Out: Voicing Movements in the Face of Censorship webinar, and much more! View Coalition events here: https://bannedbooksweek.org/banned-books-week-coalition-events-calendar/

We will keep this calendar updated as more events are confirmed, so please check back!

September 21-22 Events Spotlight

Let’s take a look at some of the events warming things up for Banned Books Week 2018…

4th Annual WCC Banned Books Week Virtual Readout

September 21 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm HST • Kaneohe, HI 

Help us celebrate Banned Books Week by bringing a banned book to read! More info…

To Kill a Mockingbird: Live Performance Featuring Mary Badham

September 21 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm EDT

The Phantom Players and Director Tracey Frame are excited to bring Oscar-nominated actress Mary Badham to Richmond for an unprecedented theatrical performance of Harper Lee’s classic American novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, as adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel. This limited time engagement will run for three shows only, September 21-23, at the Lynn Theater on the Midlothian Campus of John Tyler Community College.

The 1962 movie starred Gregory Peck, who won the Oscar for Best Actor, and introduced audiences to a young actress named Mary Badham, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress; at the time, she was the youngest performer to be so honored. In a rare moment of life imitating art, Mary Badham will not be reprising her role as Scout, but evolving into Jean Louise Finch–the adult version of the same character she played as a child–who serves as the show’s narrator. This once-in-a-lifetime event will not be performed anywhere else and is likely to sell out quickly. More info…

Banned Books Trading Cards Exhibit Opening

September 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT

Chapel Hill Public Library’s popular Banned Books Trading Cards are back for the sixth year. You’re invited to get a sneak peek at the winning submissions, meet the artists, and celebrate the opening of the exhibit in the library’s lobby. Original works from local artists will be on display. All pieces were inspired by books and authors that have been banned or challenged. There will be refreshments, a silent auction of the seven winning pieces of original artwork, and complete sets of this year’s cards. This year’s winning entries will also be prominently featured and larger than life on a Chapel Hill Transit bus. Come see it for yourself the night of the party and keep an eye out for it around town all year. More info…

Amaze Your Friends! Horrify Your Parents!! READ A BANNED GRAPHIC NOVEL!!!

September 22 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am CDT

Comic books and censorship have a shared history most famously dating back to the 1950s, but there is still cause for concern today. As comics and graphic novels increasingly appear on the shelves of local libraries and schools (and increasingly appeal to a more sophisticated audience), they are increasingly vulnerable to having their content challenged. Then as now, the issue is whether the viewpoints of the few should dictate what the many may read and enjoy.

As a precursor to “Banned Books Week” (beginning Sunday 9/23 through Saturday 9/29), join the True Believers Graphic Novel Book Club on Saturday, September 22, as we celebrate the freedom to read by discussing a selection of “banned” graphic novels that have been challenged for content in recent years. Our “Banned Books” panel discussion will take place with a live audience at the Galaxy Comic and Fantasy Art Expo in Joliet, Illinois! More info…

Kimberly Butler’s “CENSORED” Photo Exhibition Kicks off “Banned Books Week”

September 22 @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm EDT • New York City, NY

“CENSORED” features 21 provocative photos from Kimberly Butler’s forthcoming book of the same name. The photos she chose for this unique exhibition illustrate that “banning books silences stories” — the theme of this year’s “Banned Books Week” event — and that everyone needs to speak out against censorship.  Butler’s “CENSORED” photos are “a personification of books that have all been banned at one time or another,” she explains, “with quotes from the books emblazoned across each person’s body.” More info…

Harry Potter Themed Banned Book Party

September 22 @ 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm CDT • Williston, ND

Come enjoy a day at Hogwarts to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter, while kicking off National Banned Books Week! We will have information on all your favorite Banned Books, as well as some real Hogwarts classes for kids and kids at heart. More info…

Banned Spotlight: Plays and Musicals

Books aren’t the only focus of Banned Books Week. Plays, musicals, and other theatrical productions are frequent targets of censors, from the bright lights of Broadway to the smallest grade school.

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund works to protect the rights of playwrights and performers, including their First Amendment rights to stage a work. One of the tools DLDF provides is The Defender, a database of dramatic works that have been challenged or censored in the United States. The database provides a way to track challenges to staged works, examples of ways in which challenges were overcome, and an idea of who is challenging plays and musicals and why.

At present, the list includes more than 70 works that have been targeted by censors. The attacks range from censorship of the source material, to calls for boycotts, to cancellations of productions, to termination of staff who supported the staging of the work.

A few highlights from the list:

  • A production of American Idiot, the stage version of Green Day’s hit album, was cancelled at Enfield High School in Connecticut after a handful of parents complained about mature content in the musical and threatened to keep their children from participating. Several members of the Banned Books Week Coalition signed a letter in support of the play.
  • Avenue Q, a hit musical comedy starring puppets that satirizes the anxieties of adulthood, saw the removal of ads in Colorado Springs because of visible puppet cleavage.
  • Members of a church in Fulton, Missouri, objected to the depiction of smoking, drinking, and kissing in Grease.
  • The Loveland High School in Ohio fired the director of the school’s production of Legally Blonde over “bootie-bounce dance moves” and the use of the word “skank”
  • The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in Greenwich Village cancelled Playwrights for a Cause, a benefit supporting the National Coalition Against Censorship, because of Neil LaBute’s anti-censorship monologue Mohammed Gets a Boner.
  • A Pennsylvania high school cancelled a production of Spamalot over homosexual themes and subsequently fired the drama teacher for speaking about the cancellation.

You can view the entirety of DLDF’s database here.

Previous Banned Spotlights:

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