In defiance of recent and ongoing book bannings, we’ll be occupying and reading to the main room of Oesterle Library on Wednesday, September 21, at 5:00 pm. All are welcome to converse, eat some dinner (on us!), and read a selection out loud from your favorite banned book. If you’d like to read but aren’t sure what to bring, the Oesterle librarians will have some of their favorite banned books on display for the event.
The vast majority of the Shimer School’s curriculum has been challenged or banned throughout history. Someone doesn’t want to read what you’ve been reading, and I think that’s a pretty good reason to read it.
America’s burgeoning cultural wars have swept into school and community libraries, where works from Huckleberry Finn to Toni Morrison’s Beloved have long faced challenges. Now, a new politically charged wave of book-banning sentiment takes aim at titles on sexual and racial identity.
Marking this year’s observance of Banned Books Week, September 18-24, a panel of veteran librarians from Kansas City-area library systems examines the issue and walks through a range of books that have been targeted for removal or restriction in public libraries and schools. Joining the discussion, which is moderated by Kaite Stover, the Kansas City Public Library’s director of readers’ services, are:
Cass County Public Library Director Dan Brower
Lacie Griffin, collection development and interlibrary loan manager at the Johnson County Library
Longtime Kansas City Public Schools librarian Rebecca Marcum Parker
Debbie Stoppello, director of library collections at the Kansas City Public Library
Advocates of book bans often point to specific content that they maintain is too graphic and inappropriate for younger readers. Many students and parents have pushed back against those challenges, however. They join a wider call for intellectual freedom and inclusive collections in school and other libraries, and libraries themselves remain resistant to allowing an individual or single group to dictate what everyone can read.
Celebrate your favorite banned books out loud with the Shimer Great Books School! The Shimer Great Books School at North Central College invites you to a “read-in” in our Oesterle Library and Learning Commons. Bring a selection from your favorite banned book to read out loud, discuss with Shimer students and faculty, and learn more about how Shimer keeps banned books in the conversation. Shimer students and faculty will be present to answer questions about our program and dinner will be served for attendees.
In honor of Banned Books Week and in protest of censorship of books with LGBTQIA+ and racial equity themes in Oklahoma schools and libraries, we are holding a public reading of some of the most banned and challenged books of the past five years. Readings will be modified to be appropriate for families with middle-school-aged children and older. Between readings, there will be performances by local musicians. Participants will also have an opportunity to write a letter to favorite banned book authors and send a message of support to Oklahoma teachers and librarians.
In schools & libraries around the country, extremists are attempting to ban books & trample students’ First Amendment right to read. In a discussion designed to educate, aggravate, & activate, Martha will deliver the latest news on censorship, share the strategies she used to fight back here in NJ, & provide you with tips & tools to keep free people reading freely.
As the extraordinary Martha sez her own self, “Defending the right to read is not a one-person job. The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice with its commitment to diverse voices & safe spaces is the perfect ally for libraries & by partnering with the Center we will fight the Ed Scare affecting our schools, libraries, & the greater community.”
Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice HQ
12 Stockton St.
Princeton, NJ 08540
If you find this program & the work we do meaningful & believe in the mission & vision of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, please consider donatin’ whatever is within your means & within your hearts to help us continue to build this extraordinary new home our community needs & deserves. It’s hard to be a safe-space without a space… paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/3348328
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!
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-Outinvites 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.
Banned Books Week is the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The event is sponsored by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, including American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), Freedom to Read Foundation, GLAAD, Index on Censorship, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People For the American Way Foundation, PFLAG, 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 HarperCollins Publishers and Penguin Random House.