Tag: advocacy

Saturday Is Let Freedom Read Day!

With book bans on the rise, it is absolutely essential that people do something — anything — to defend books from censorship in their communities. This final day of Banned Books Week is Let Freedom Read Day — do at least one thing today to fight censorship! Keep reading for day of action ideas and more Banned Books Week programs!

Spotlight: Let Freedom Read Day

The freedom to read is under attack — let’s do something about it! Whether you have 5 minutes or an hour or more, there’s plenty you can do to fight. Visit the Let Freedom Read Day page for ideas, a downloadable one-sheet, and social media assets that you can use to let the world know you took action today!

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!

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

The New Republic: THE BANNED BOOKS TOUR 2023

John H. Dickerson Community Center, 308 Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL • 10:00 am – 2:00 pm EDT

The New Republic is launching a bold new initiative to combat censorship and celebrate the First Amendment to coincide with Banned Books Week October 1–7, 2023. This fall, we are taking it on the road, sending a bookmobile to distribute books in states that have witnessed the highest incidents of banned books, including Texas, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

We will launch our journey at the Brooklyn Book Festival on October 1 where we will accept book (and financial) donations with special help from our partners at House of SpeakEasy via the SpeakEasy Bookmobile.

Our “festival on wheels” will connect with communities, authors, bookstores, libraries, and local leaders to celebrate the freedom to read.

Banned Camp Presents: The Magic Power of Reading

BookPeople 603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX, United States • 10:30 am – 2:00 pm CDT

In partnership with Book People, The Child Defense Fund of Texas, and the Austin Public Library, PEN America Austin will celebrate Banned Book Month 2023 on October 7 at Book People by demonstrating the magical power of reading. With legislature like Texas House Bill 900 threatening students’ access to books, PEN Austin is inviting local writers, readers, and free expression advocates to honor the magic of their unique stories.

This day of celebration for the magical power of reading will have two sections that will allow Austin residents to reflect on how integral books are to our identity and our ability to express ourselves. Staff from the CDF and APL will be on hand to supply writers, readers, and free expression advocates of all ages with the materials and knowledge to produce their own zine and bookmarks via a production workshop. Magician Nicole Cardoza will demonstrate the transformative power of words with a magic show. Lastly, the PEN America Freedom to Read team will present research findings about the book ban crisis and its effects on Texas students, schools, libraries, and booksellers. PEN America will be joined by local coalition leaders who are pushing back against book bans in defense of the freedom to read. Leaders like Carolyn Foote of FReadom Fighters will talk about ways to get involved locally in your own schools and communities.

The Banned Wagon Tour: Houston

Kindred Stories 2304 Stuart Street, Houston, TX • 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm CDT

Book bans are on the rise in America, driven by new laws and regulations limiting the kinds of books that kids can access.

This month, we’re hitting the road with the Freedom to Read Foundation, Pen America, and Little Free Library to hand out copies of banned books in some of the most affected communities.

Explore this this site to see whether the Banned Wagon is coming to a city near you, learn about the books we’ll be handing out, and explore more resources to fight book bans!

18th Annual BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK

River Forest Public Library, 735 Lathrop Ave., River Forest, IL • 2:00 p.m. CDT

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 across the United States.

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.

Ongoing Events

Share a Banned Book in a Little Free Library!

Our mission at Little Free Library is to expand access to books – including banned books – and we invite you to join us! Sharing banned and challenged books in your local Little Free Libraries is a meaningful way to get books into readers’ hands, show your support for reading freedom, and do something positive in your community. Here’s how:

1) Share a banned book in a Little Free Library. Find Little Free Libraries near you using our free mobile app (littlefreelibrary.org/app/).

2) Snap a photo and post it on social media with #bannedbooksweek. Don’t forget to tag Little Free Library so we’re sure to see your photos!

3) Bonus: Little Free Library stewards can enter to win our Banned Books Week giveaway with HarperCollins Children’s Books, which will be open for entry during the month of October (littlefreelibrary.org/books/).

People For’s Banned Books Reading Challenge

In this challenge, every book you read (to a grandchild or on your own) gives you one “point,” and points can be traded in for free Grandparents For Truth swag! Supplies are limited so make sure to read early and often!

How You Can Join the Challenge

  1. Sign up for the challenge here.
  2. Pick a banned book off of our banned book reading list
  3. Submit a photo or video of you (or you and a grandkid!) reading the banned book. If you post it to social, make sure you tag us (we’re @peoplefor on Twitter/X and Facebook and @peoplefor_ on Instagram)and use the hashtag #bannedbooks2023
  4. Each photo or video you submit or tag us in is worth one point! Rack up points to get free Grandparents for Truth swag like tshirts, book marks, water bottles, and more!
  5. Keep an eye on your inbox! At the end of October, we’ll reach out to you to see what swag you’d like.

Supplies are limited – so read early and often!

Banned Books Week Thursday: Student Advocates Show Us How It’s Done

It’s Thursday, and Banned Books Week is running strong with student advocates! Hot off his livestream with Honorary Chair LeVar Burton, Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels will take the spotlight today with a program featuring student leaders from around the country!

Also in the mix today: The Banned Wagon hits the Big Easy, the online debut of Ibram X. Kendi’s moving Rally for the Right to Read speech, Carmen Maria Machado on banned books, Reading with Love, children’s book authors on fighting censorship, and more!

Are you ready to take action to fight book bans?! Saturday is Let Freedom Read Day, and we’re asking everyone everyone to do at least one thing to help fight book bans! Get ideas and resources here. (Protip: Bookmark the page so you can take action any day of the year!)

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week events calendar for a full list of what’s happening today and throughout the week!

Youth Honorary Chair Spotlight

A Seat at the Table: Youth Advocates on Fighting Book Bans

Virtual Event • 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. CDT

Some of the strongest voices in the fight against book bans are the students that censors claim they are protecting. Join Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels for an inspiring roundtable discussion about youth advocacy in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, and how that work can inform opposition to censorship around the country. Join us on Facebook (@BannedBooksWeek) or register here.

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

The Banned Wagon Tour: New Orleans

Baldwin & Co 1030 Elysian Fields Avenue, New Orleans, LA • 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. CDT

Book bans are on the rise in America, driven by new laws and regulations limiting the kinds of books that kids can access.

This month, we’re hitting the road with the Freedom to Read Foundation, PEN America, and Little Free Library to hand out copies of banned books in some of the most affected communities.

Explore this this site to see whether the Banned Wagon is coming to a city near you, learn about the books we’ll be handing out, and explore more resources to fight book bans!

Rally for the Right to Read: A Banned Books Week Event

Virtual Event • 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CDT

Join Penguin Random House, Booklist, and Unite Against Book Bans for a special Banned Books Week event as we premiere the video of Ibram X. Kendi’s motivating and moving speech from Rally for the Right to Read at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference. Introduced by Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association, in conversation with Chris Jackson, EVP, Publisher, & Editor-in-Chief of One World—this hour-long webinar will celebrate the right to read and librarians’ role in providing access for all. Representatives from Unite Against Book Bans will also join the webinar to share resources and offer a myriad of ways that viewers can join in the fight for the freedom to read.

Ten lucky LIVE webinar attendees will win a full set of Ibram X. Kendi’s books for their library. Register now!

Carmen Maria Machado on Banned Books

Utah Museum of Fine Arts 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, UT • 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. MDT

Join PEN Utah on October 5th as Carmen Maria Machado joins the Tanner Humanities Center for a Banned Books Week conversation about her work and being an LGBTQIA+ author. She will be joined by Jeremy Rosen, Associate Director for Faculty at the Tanner Humanities Center and Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Utah.

Book signing to follow. Books will be available to purchase from Under the Umbrella Bookstore.

Reading with Love: A Virtual Drag Read Aloud of Children’s Banned Books

Virtual Event • 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. EDT

As anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeps the nation, our schools, libraries, and other story-telling spaces are being attacked on the basis of “protecting the children.” Countless books have been banned as a result, attempting to block—and thereby, extinguish—any mention of LGBTQ+ experiences and identities.

But these books go beyond LGBTQ+ narratives—they’re glowing messages of love and role models for living life as your best, most authentic self.

In what world should these messages be censored?

On October 5, from 6-7 pm ET, we’re sharing these messages of love through the voices of our most vivacious, glamorous, and fearless community members: drag artists. Bringing these stories to life are local drag talent Coco Sho-Nell, Emi Grate, Mister Max, and Nancy Nogood, whose authenticity in themselves mirrors the authenticity in these stories.

The Reading with Love Live broadcast is a family-friendly read aloud geared towards children ages 5-8, with topics including the gender binary, trans children, parents of the same gender, and the history of the Gay Pride flag.

Let’s come together and help our kids see a bright and loving future.

Free People Read Freely: How Children’s Book Creatives Can Fight Book Banning

Virtual Event • 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. CDT

The American Library Association (ALA) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) have joined forces to inform and educate the public about the challenges with book banning in the United States. The special edition SCBWI digital workshop, entitled “Free People Read Freely: How Children’s Book Creatives Can Fight Book Banning” will take place on Thursday, October 5, at 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET on Zoom. Click here to register. This digital workshop is free and open to the public.

SCBWI will host speaker Joyce McIntosh, Assistant Program Director for the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), an organization dedicated to First Amendment education, litigation, and advocacy. McIntosh will discuss ways creators of books for children, teens, and young adults can address the current surge in challenges to books for young people.

Share a Banned Book in a Little Free Library!

Our mission at Little Free Library is to expand access to books – including banned books – and we invite you to join us! Sharing banned and challenged books in your local Little Free Libraries is a meaningful way to get books into readers’ hands, show your support for reading freedom, and do something positive in your community. Here’s how:

1) Share a banned book in a Little Free Library. Find Little Free Libraries near you using our free mobile app (littlefreelibrary.org/app/).

2) Snap a photo and post it on social media with #bannedbooksweek. Don’t forget to tag Little Free Library so we’re sure to see your photos!

3) Bonus: Little Free Library stewards can enter to win our Banned Books Week giveaway with HarperCollins Children’s Books, which will be open for entry during the month of October (littlefreelibrary.org/books/).

People For’s Banned Books Reading Challenge

In this challenge, every book you read (to a grandchild or on your own) gives you one “point,” and points can be traded in for free Grandparents For Truth swag! Supplies are limited so make sure to read early and often!

How You Can Join the Challenge

  1. Sign up for the challenge here.
  2. Pick a banned book off of our banned book reading list
  3. Submit a photo or video of you (or you and a grandkid!) reading the banned book. If you post it to social, make sure you tag us (we’re @peoplefor on Twitter/X and Facebook and @peoplefor_ on Instagram)and use the hashtag #bannedbooks2023
  4. Each photo or video you submit or tag us in is worth one point! Rack up points to get free Grandparents for Truth swag like tshirts, book marks, water bottles, and more!
  5. Keep an eye on your inbox! At the end of October, we’ll reach out to you to see what swag you’d like.

Supplies are limited – so read early and often!

The Dangers & Consequences of Banning Books – Dealing with Gender and Sexuality

An interview and discussion with Weston Brown at Buffalo’s Crane Branch Library.
Weston will discuss growing up homeschooled and denied books with representation, being cut off from his family after coming out, and his rise as an advocate for books against a mother determined to erase queer representation from schools and libraries.

Banned Books Week at Cranbury Public Library

Cranbury Pubic Library is celebrating Banned Books Week all month long. We’ve compiled a reading list of the top 101 most banned and challenged books in our collection. We’re encouraging everyone to read at least one book from the list this month, and all participants will receive a Let Freedom Read bookmark from the ALA and be entered into a drawing to win a reading advocacy bracelet.

How They Did It: Community-Based Efforts to Defend Public Libraries

How They Did It

Thursday, October 5th, 2023 (6:00PM – 7:30PM Eastern)

Join For the People Leftist Library Project for a dynamic how-to session focused on local organizer efforts to strengthen and defend public libraries. We’ll hear firsthand accounts from the Hennepin County Library Patrons Union and Louisiana Citizens Against Censorship. Discover how these organizations threw themselves into the struggle, built power, navigated challenges, and made a difference in their local public libraries.

Participants can expect to leave with lessons learned and examples of step-by-step actions that could be applied elsewhere. This event is all about practical takeaways and constructive advice that you can apply to your own local library initiatives, so please also feel encouraged to come with questions for a Q&A.

The Library Patrons Union is an explicitly leftist, community-run union of Hennepin County Library patrons (in Minnesota), organizing for more just public libraries. https://librarypatronsunion.com/

Louisiana Citizens Against Censorship is an all-volunteer, grassroots organization dedicated to fighting attempts to ban or restrict books based on subjective standards of inappropriate content. We believe that informed citizens are good citizens, and access to information is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy. To that end, we oppose any legislation aimed at restricting citizens’ First Amendment Rights, as well as the right to read freely. https://www.la-cac.org/

Access info: ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided.

Zoom link will be sent before the event to all registrants.

Free People Read Freely: How Children’s Book Creatives Can Fight Book Banning

LOS ANGELES, CA September 27, 2023 – The American Library Association (ALA) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) have joined forces to inform and educate the public about the challenges with book banning in the United States. The special edition SCBWI digital workshop, entitled “Free People Read Freely: How Children’s Book Creatives Can Fight Book Banning” will take place on Thursday, October 5, at 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET on Zoom. Click here to register. This digital workshop is free and open to the public.

SCBWI will host speaker Joyce McIntosh, Assistant Program Director for the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), an organization dedicated to First Amendment education, litigation, and advocacy. McIntosh will discuss ways creators of books for children, teens, and young adults can address the current surge in challenges to books for young people.

Sarah Baker, executive director of SCBWI, commented, “Book banning is nothing new. But all of us at SCBWI are increasingly disturbed by the ferocity and sophistication of this current wave of book banning and censorship. I’m pleased to welcome Joyce McIntosh to the event ‘Free People Read Freely: How Children’s Book Creatives Can Fight Book Banning,’ where our 21,000-plus members and the wider children’s book community can learn about the current state of book banning and acquire the tools they need to fight back. Young readers deserve nothing less.”

National Banned Books Week is October 1-7, 2023.

Banned Books & the Law

The First Amendment is one powerful tool to fight book bans, but the legal issues are increasingly complex. State and local legislatures and courts have become heavily involved in both book banning and the prevention of book bans in recent years.

Join us for a discussion with Cheryl Davis, general counsel of the Authors Guild, who will explain the legal issues to know about book bans and her organization’s advocacy work to protect free speech and access to books. Heather Fleming, founder of grassroots organization Missouri Equity Education Partnership, will talk about the myths and realities of book bans today.

A Q&A will follow the presentation; you can pre-submit a question when registering for the event. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend live.

The event will take place via Zoom with automatic closed captioning. To request any other accessibility features, please email support@authorsguild.org and we will make every effort to accommodate.

Thank you to Missouri Equity Education Partnership for collaborating on this event for Banned Books Week.

Panelists

Cheryl Davis, general counsel, Authors Guild

Heather Fleming, founder, Missouri Equity Education Partnership

Banned Book Week Events and Resources at Ink-a-Dink Bookstore

Supporting Banned Book Week

Childress Ink Product Development Company and our affiliate online bookstore, Ink-a-Dink.com, brings attention to book banning and reasons why you need to care.

We are strongly against book bans of any kind. Rather, these books are needed and necessary and serve as opportunities for much-needed dialog and discussion, a subject I have spoken in and shared before, Responsibilities in Children’s Publishing.

Each day, we will feature a banned book for give-away, while sharing free resources from the American Library Association (ALA).

LeVar Burton to Lead 2023 Banned Books Week as Honorary Chair

Photograph of actor LeVar Burton

Beloved reading advocate, writer, and television and film star LeVar Burton will lead this year’s Banned Books Week, which takes place October 1–7, 2023.  Burton is the first actor to serve as honorary chair of Banned Books Week, an annual weeklong event that highlights the value of free and open access to information and brings together the entire book community in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.

Recognizable for his groundbreaking roles in the landmark television series Roots and the Star Trek franchise, Burton’s work as a literacy advocate has inspired generations. Many in the book community can trace their love of reading and advocacy for the right to read to Burton’s treasured PBS children’s series Reading Rainbow. Burton has continued to inspire readers with the enormously popular LeVar Burton Reads podcast. A long-time champion for reading and access to books, Burton executive produced The Right to Read. This award-winning 2023 documentary film positions the literacy crisis in America as a civil rights issue. 

“Books bring us together. They teach us about the world and each other. The ability to read and access books is a fundamental right and a necessity for life-long success,” says Burton. “But books are under attack. They’re being removed from libraries and schools. Shelves have been emptied because of a small number of people and their misguided efforts toward censorship. Public advocacy campaigns like Banned Books Week are essential to helping people understand the scope of book censorship and what they can do to fight it. I’m honored to lead Banned Books Week 2023.”

Burton will headline a live virtual conversation with Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels about censorship and advocacy at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 4. The event will stream live on Instagram (@banned_books_week). Visit BannedBooksWeek.org for more details.

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom documented an unparalleled increase in attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries and schools in 2022: 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling censorship data more than 20 years ago. These demands targeted 2,571 unique titles, a 38% increase over the previous year.

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has drawn attention to the attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores. The 2023 Banned Books Week theme “Let Freedom Read” is a call to action about the urgent need to defend the right to read and to support the community of readers, library staff, educators, authors, publishers, and booksellers. 

Saturday, October 7, will mark Let Freedom Read Day, a day of action against censorship. From calling decision-makers to checking out or buying banned books, to writing letters and more, everyone is encouraged to do at least one thing to defend the right to read and to speak on behalf of those who ensure access to information. For information about ways to participate and resources, visit bannedbooksweek.org/let-freedom-read-day/.

Visit BannedBooksWeek.org for information about Burton’s event and other programs, ways to participate, and promotional materials. Follow Banned Books Week on social media (@BannedBooksWeek on X and Facebook, @banned_books_week on Instagram) for the latest updates.

About LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton is an actor, director, producer, and podcaster whose decades-long work includes Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow. He is the honored recipient of seven NAACP Awards, a Peabody, a Grammy, and 15 Emmys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Inaugural Children’s & Family Emmys. 

As a lifelong literacy advocate, Burton has dedicated decades to encouraging children to read. In 2023, Burton premiered his first documentary, The Right to Read, a film that positions the literacy crisis in America as a civil rights issue. The Right to Read was officially selected at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and SXSW Edu. 

Burton continues to exercise his passion for storytelling as the award-winning author of Aftermath, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, and A Kids Book About Imagination. He launched his first book club with Fable, a digital book club community, and partnered with Masterclass to share the power of storytelling. 

His production company, LeVar Burton Entertainment (LBE), develops projects in the film, television, podcasting, and publishing space  to share stories that foster empathy, champion diversity, and build community. 

Now in its 12th season, the enormously popular LeVar Burton Reads podcast has over 175 episodes in its catalog, boasting 25 million downloads.  LBE’s first Kids & Family podcast, Sound Detectives, will debut on Stitcher in November 2023. 

As a pop culture icon, Burton has the unique ability to reach all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups, communicating to a large fan base that is highly engaged and motivated to embrace his message. 

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 for Free Expression, American Library Association, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Banned Books Week Sweden (a collaboration between Sweden PEN and the Dawit Isaak Library), Children’s Book Council, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Freedom to Read Foundation, Little Free Library, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People for the American Way Foundation, and PFLAG. Contributors include American Society of Journalists and Authors, Authors Guild, Index on Censorship, GLAAD, and Project Censored. Banned Books Week is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and receives generous support from HarperCollins and Penguin Random House.

Caffè Lena Presents 60 Years of Banned Books

Caffè Lena and the Saratoga Springs Public Library join together to celebrate Banned Books Week. On October 5, enjoy music from Reese Fulmer and Dan Berggren, as well as local authors who will share readings from titles that have been banned or challenged in the past 60 years. This in-person event will be streamed via Zoom. Please register online.

Both organizations recognize the contributions of authors and illustrators amid the current national uptick in efforts to ban controversial books from libraries, suppressing conversations and the ability to think for ourselves.

Off the Shelf: Book Bans, Challenges and Promoting Inclusive Literature

Book challenges and bans have been increasing across the country, both in schools and districts where laws have been passed, but also where no formal rules, restrictions or laws exist. When large scale book bans take place, it affects young people’s ability to see themselves reflected in books. It also impacts their ability to gain an understanding of and empathy for people who are different than themselves, which contributes to antisemitism, racism and all forms of bias.

Join ADL and AASL (American Association of School Librarians) to learn more about book challenges and bans and explore actions that can be taken.

Children’s book author Kelly Yang and a powerful group of panelists—including a teacher, high school student, librarian, and parent (from Florida Freedom to Read Project)—will address how book challenges and bans have impacted them in their unique roles and will discuss what we can do about what’s happening in schools and libraries. The program includes Q+A and a book giveaway of five banned books.

TODAY: Take Action During Right to Read Day!

In conjunction with the release of today’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books list, ALA has called for a national day of action to protect libraries and the freedom to read — Right to Read Day! Right to Read Day also marks the first anniversary of the ALA-founded Unite Against Book Bans campaign, a public-facing advocacy initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.

“Right to Read Day is a national day of action—not just acknowledgement,” said ALA President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada. “ALA calls on readers everywhere to show our commitment to the First Amendment by doing something concrete to preserve it.

“The fight against censorship is too big for one person or library or organization to take on alone. And we don’t have to. That’s why ALA created Unite Against Book Bans: to be a collective voice in defending the right to read.”

Since the movement was launched in April 2022, Unite Against Book Bans has created and curated a set of free advocacy resources and provided direct support to community organizers. Local advocates have used and adapted these resources to fight censorship in communities like Llano County and League City, Texas, and in states like Missouri and Louisiana. ALA and its Unite Against Book Bans partners—individuals, authors, publishers, educators, advocacy groups and library organizations of all stripes—are calling on readers to take action on Right to Read Day and beyond.

Suggested Right to Read Day actions include:

  • Borrow a library book at risk of being banned.
  • Write a letter to the editor or to an elected leader.
  • Attend a meeting of local officials or library or school board.
  • Stage a public event or peaceful protest in support of libraries.
  • Report censorship.
  • Join Unite Against Book Bans.

Right to Read Day resources, including social media assets, are available at https://uniteagainstbookbans.org/right-to-read-day/

“Readers who think, ‘this will never happen in our community,’ need to think again. More than half the states have legislation proposed or passed that would take library books off the shelves, punish library workers who dare to make books accessible and silence the voices of LGBTQ, BIPOC and other authors. Speaking up and raising our voices now can stop censorship where it’s happening and prevent censorship where it’s just getting started.”

In addition to the call to action, Unite Against Book Bans partners will host Protecting Free Expression and the Right to Read, a virtual conversation with partners from ALA, PEN America and National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) prompted by “Forever Judy Blume,” the new documentary about renowned author and right to read advocate Judy Blume. ALA President Pelayo-Lozada, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel and NCAC Executive Director Christopher Finan will sit down with the documentary’s co-directors to discuss Judy Blume’s trailblazing work and the unprecedented surge of censorship sweeping across the country. Registration is required for the free virtual event, which will take place today at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.

About National Library Week  

National Library Week is an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities. Established in 1957, the first National Library Week was based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. The 2023 celebration marks the 65th anniversary of the first event.

ALA Releases Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2022 List

Today, the American Library Association (ALA) kicked off National Library Week with the release of its highly anticipated list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2022 and the State of America’s Libraries Report, which tells the story of how libraries are innovating and adapting to improve the well-being of their communities in the midst of censorship challenges. This year, however, there were multiple books that received the same number of challenges – resulting in the expansion of the list to 13 titles.

Libraries in every state faced another year of unprecedented attempts to ban books. In 2022, ALA tracked the highest number of censorship reports since the association began compiling data about library censorship more than 20 years ago. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted in 2021. Most of the targeted books were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.

“By releasing the list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books each year, ALA recognizes all of the brave authors whose work challenges readers with stories that disrupt the status quo and offer fresh perspectives on tough issues,” said ALA President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada. “The list also illustrates how frequently stories by or about LGBTQ+ persons, people of color, and lived experiences are being targeted by censors. Closing our eyes to the reality portrayed in these stories will not make life’s challenges disappear. Books give us courage and help us understand each other.

It’s time to take action on behalf of authors, library staff, and the communities they serve. ALA calls on readers everywhere to show your commitment to the freedom to read by doing something to protect it.”

Below are the most Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022:

  1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: depiction of sexual abuse, claimed to be sexually explicit, EDI content
  1. Flamer by Mike Curato
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. (TIE) Looking for Alaska by John Green
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content
  1. (TIE) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content, depiction of sexual abuse, drugs, profanity
  1. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity
  1. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. (TIE) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. (TIE) Crank by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, drugs
  1. (TIE) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity
  1. (TIE) This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, sex education, claimed to be sexually explicit

Top 10 artwork is available for download at: https://bit.ly/ALA-Top10

In response to the uptick in book challenges and other efforts to suppress access to information, ALA has designated every Monday of National Library Week moving forward as Right to Read Day, a day of action that encourages communities to fight back against censorship and to protect and celebrate the right to read freely. This year’s National Library Week also marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Unite Against Book Bans, a nationwide initiative that empowers readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship. More information is available at uniteagainstbookbans.org.

About the American Library Association
The 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, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.

There’s More to the Story: Celebrate National Library Week (April 23-29, 2023)

National Library Week (April 23 – 29, 2023) is a time to celebrate our nation’s libraries, library workers’ contributions and promote library use and support. The theme for National Library Week 2023 is “There’s More to the Story,” illustrating the fact that in addition to the books in library collections, available in a variety of formats, libraries offer so much more. Many libraries now lend items like museum passes, games, musical instruments, and tools. Library programming brings communities together for entertainment, education, and connection through book clubs, storytimes, movie nights, crafting classes, and lectures. And library infrastructure advances communities, providing internet and technology access, literacy skills, and support for businesses, job seekers, and entrepreneurs.

The American Library Association (ALA) kicks off National Library Week with the release of its State of America’s Libraries Report, including the list of Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2022

National Library Week Events

Monday, April 24: Right to Read Day, a day for readers, advocates, and library lovers to take action to protect, defend, and celebrate the right to read. State of America’s Libraries Report released.
Tuesday, April 25: National Library Workers Day, a day for library staff, users, administrators, and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.
Wednesday, April 26: National Library Outreach Day (formerly National Bookmobile Day), a day to celebrate library outreach and the dedicated library professionals who are meeting their patrons where they are.
Thursday, April 27: Take Action for Libraries Day, a day to rally advocates to support libraries.

Find more information, downloadable assets, and much more here.

Meet the Banned Books Week Coalition!

Banned Books Week is almost here! If you’re looking for someone to respond to press inquiries; someone to take part in your programming; information about censorship in schools, libraries, bookstores, and more; or ways to report censorship, the members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are ready to help. Keep reading to learn more about our amazing member organizations!

American Booksellers Association: The American Booksellers for Free Expression

  • ABFE 24-hour hotline (First Amendment emergencies): (845) 242-8605
  • Press inquiries: David Grogan

American Library Association: Office for Intellectual Freedom

Association of University Presses

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

  • First Amendment emergency hotline: (888) 88-CBLDF (22533)
  • Press inquiries: info@cbldf.org

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

Freedom to Read Foundation

Index on Censorship

https://bannedbooksweek.org/sponsor/ioc/

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Council of Teachers of English

People for the American Way Foundation

Banned Books Week Contributors

American Society of Journalists and Authors

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Journalists and Authors is the nation’s professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. Our membership consists of outstanding freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing, each of whom has met ASJA’s exacting standards of professional achievement. https://asja.org/

The Authors Guild

The Authors Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for writers. Since its beginnings over a century ago, we have served as the collective voice of American authors. Our members include novelists, historians, journalists, and poets—traditionally and independently published—as well as literary agents and representatives of writers’ estates. The Guild advocates for authors on issues of copyright, fair contracts, free speech, and tax fairness, and has initiated lawsuits in defense of authors’ rights, where necessary. https://www.authorsguild.org/

PEN America

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, founded in 1922, is the largest of more than 100 centers of PEN International. For more than 90 years, we have been working together with our colleagues in the international PEN community to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to make it possible for everyone to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others. https://pen.org/

Project Censored

Project Censored educates students and the public about the importance of a truly free press for democratic self-government. We expose and oppose news censorship, and we promote independent investigative journalism, media literacy, and critical thinking. An informed public is crucial to democracy in at least two basic ways. First, without access to relevant news and opinion, people cannot fully participate in government. Second, without media literacy, people cannot evaluate for themselves the quality or significance of the news they receive. Censorship undermines democracy. Project Censored’s work—including our annual book, weekly radio broadcasts, campus affiliates program, and additional community events—highlights the important links among a free press, media literacy and democratic self-government. https://www.projectcensored.org/


Banned Books Week 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.