The American Library Association (ALA) has added a new day to National Library Week, and it’s already shaping up to be the most action-packed yet.
Monday, April 24, will kick off National Library Week this year, and it will also mark one year since ALA launched its Unite Against Book Bans campaign. To honor the occasion, ALA is calling on readers, advocates, and library lovers nationwide to defend, protect, and celebrate the right to read freely on the inaugural Right to Read Day. The new day comes amid record attempts to ban or restrict books in public and school libraries across the U.S. in 2022.
Readers everywhere can participate on and beyond Right to Read Day by taking one or more of the listed actions to fight back against censorship, including checking out challenged books, making a plan to attend your local library and school board meetings, writing a letter to press or local officials, and more. The website also features helpful tools and examples to assist those taking action.
“The fight against censorship is too big for one person or library or organization to take on alone,” ALA President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada said in a statement. “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.”
Beyond the call to action, Right to Read Day will also feature an array of events throughout the day.
ALA and other Unite Against Book Bans partners will participate in a virtual conversation with co-directors of Judy Blume Forever, a new Amazon Prime documentary that will explore the impact of Blume’s work and the decades of censorship the author has weathered. The documentary features interviews with an array of celebrities, banned authors, and young readers who have all been impacted by Blume’s work, including comedian Samantha Bee, actress Molly Ringwald, and author Jason Reynolds.
The same day, ALA will also release its annual State of America’s Libraries Report, which spotlights the innovations, achievements, and challenges of the nation’s libraries from the previous year. The report will also include a list of the top 10 most challenged books of 2022.
Check out more about Right to Read Day from Unite Against Book Bans.