The freedom to read is under attack — let’s do something about it!
On October 7, 2023, we’re asking everyone to take at least one action to help defend books from censorship and to stand up for the library staff, educators, writers, publishers, and booksellers who make them available!
Show us how you’re taking action on social media by using the hashtags #LetFreedomReadDay and #BannedBooksWeek!
And don’t forget: Censorship won’t stop just because Banned Books Week does — you can take action any day of the year! Bookmark this page for future reference.
If you have 5 minutes…
Call a decision maker
Call school and library administrators, school board and library board members, city councilpersons, and your elected representatives to ask them to support the right to read!
Support an advocacy organization
The organizations in the Banned Books Week Coalition work tirelessly to defend your right to access information. Support them by following them on social media, signing up for their email lists, or making a donation. Learn more about the members of the Coalition here.
Join Unite Against Book Bans
The Banned Books Week Coalition is a proud partner in Unite Against Book Bans, a national campaign to protect the rights of everyone to access information. Unite provides a comprehensive toolkit, supports those fighting censorship in their communities with advice and resources, and sends targeted messages to mobilize advocates in areas that need it. Add your name here!
If you have 15 minutes…
Check out a banned book
Circulation matters! Checking out banned books or books about topics that are frequently targeted for censorship proves that the community is interested in reading them. Library staff can use circulation data to support keeping the books on shelves when they are challenged and to justify ordering more books by the same authors or on the same topic.
Buy a banned book
Censorship doesn’t just harm libraries and schools; it also impacts writers, publishers, and booksellers. Writers have had school visits cancelled. Publishers and booksellers are encountering more obstacles to working with schools and libraries. One way you can support the people who make and sell books is to buy them!
Do you want to help others access banned books? You can donate the books you purchase to:
- Public and school libraries: Contact your local library or school to find out what they need and how to donate.
- Little Free Library: Use the free LFL mobile app to find a Little Free Library book-sharing box near you!
- Fundraisers: Many public libraries have friends of the library groups that use donated books to raise money for the library.
- A banned book giveaway or bookmobile: Call your local bookstore to see if they may be hosting a giveaway or supporting a bookmobile. The New Republic is accepting book donations for the Banned Books Tour 2023 bookmobile. Contact them here.
If you have 30 minutes…
Write a letter
Public input is very important for school and library board members, trustees, and elected officials. Take some time to write to your local boards and elected officials to let them know your concerns about censorship, and ask them to defend the right to read for the entire community.
Make a public statement for the right to read by writing a letter to the editor for publication in your local newspaper.
A letter can also be a wonderful tool for showing library staff, educators, authors, and the vulnerable readers in your community that you support them!
- Unite Against Book Bans Action Toolkit: Tips for Writing a Letter to the Editor
- School Book Challenge Resource Center (NCAC; sample letters appear at the bottom of the page)
- Dear Banned Author
- Guidance for Reaching Out to Your Local School and Library Boards (GLAAD) (MS Word download)
- Guidance for Reaching Out to Your Local School and Library Boards (GLAAD) (PDF download)
Plan to attend a meeting
Decisions about collection development, materials reconsiderations, and policies are being made at all levels of government. Some of the biggest battles are being fought at the local level. That makes attending school board, library board, and city council meetings one of the most critical actions you can take to fight censorship.
Most local governments and boards post meeting calendars and agendas online, and some also livestream meetings. Even if book bans or collection policies aren’t on the agenda, many boards and councils set aside time for public comments. Don’t let the people calling for censorship be the only voice in the room. Advocates can use comment periods to let board members and local officials know that they should support access to books of all kind.
If you have an hour or more…
Volunteer at your local library
Get a first-hand look at what’s happening at your library and find out how these essential community institutions do so much more than just check out books!
The majority of Americans don’t support censorship, but attempts to ban books from libraries continue to rise at an unprecedented level. The small number of people who are leading the charge against the freedom to read are organized, and they are counting on complacency, ignorance, and inaction to accomplish their objectives.
No one person or organization can tackle this problem alone. We need to rally our communities in support of our schools and libraries! Take some time to start bringing together your friends, family, and other members of the community in a shared cause: fighting censorship!