Tag: oif

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
Brittany Netherton is a reference librarian interested in comics and graphic medicine. You won’t find her altering any metadata herself, but she’s interested in the work others are doing to make comics more accessible.

Register here.

ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table are celebrating Banned Books Week with Image Comics by producing a week-long webinar series featuring creators and librarians in conversation on topics centered around censorship and intellectual freedom. Libraries around the country are invited to welcome their staff and patrons for these exciting conversations during Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, which runs from September 27 – October 3. Each webinar 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.

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. 

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.


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.

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 »


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 »


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!


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.


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


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!

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.

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.”


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.


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.


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.