Tag: right to read

Banned Books Bash

We’re kicking off Banned Books Week with a bash for all ages from 12:00 -3:00 p.m. Drop in any time, or stay for the day.

  • 12 PM — Banned Book Tasting
    • Browse our “buffet” of banned books. Take the time and care to evaluate them for yourself
  • 1 PM — Banned Book “READ OUT”
    • Participate by reading aloud or listening as others read passages from select banned books
  • 2 PM — Banned Book BINGO
    • Play along and you may just win a prize!

All day long, we’ll have a banned book challenge, and the banned book tasting will continue — plus 10% off all banned books and banned book apparel, freebies, and BLIND DATES WITH 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.

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/