Banned Books Week is here, a time to stand up for everyone’s freedom to read. Librarians, teachers, authors, and more are coming together to push back against censorship—will you join the fight for intellectual freedom?
Even in 2020, schools and libraries still face pressure to remove controversial titles from their bookshelves and reading lists. Materials that deal with important topics like gender, sexuality, race, and mental health are particularly likely to face censorship; eight out of the ten most frequently challenged books of 2019 were targeted for their LGBTQIA+ content. And books aren’t the only resources at risk of censorship in libraries and schools: programs, book displays, and more also attract complaints from patrons who find them objectionable.
Some book challenges are highly public (like when a Tennessee Catholic school made national news for banning the Harry Potter novels), but many slip by under the radar—your library may be facing censorship attempts as we speak. Libraries and educators need support from their communities to help ensure everyone’s freedom to read without judgment or restriction.
There are plenty of ways to join the movement during Banned Books Week and beyond. The #BannedBooksWeek in Action challenge is full of fun, empowering activity suggestions for each day of the week, from writing an op-ed in your local paper to recording a video of yourself reading from a banned book. Participants are encouraged to share what they’re up to on social media using the hashtag #BannedBooksWeek.
You can also get involved by participating in the Dear Banned Author campaign, which invites readers to write letters of support to their favorite banned or challenged authors. For writers facing frequent censorship, these messages are a powerful reminder of how much their words matter. You can reach out via email, social media, or snail mail; the Dear Banned Author webpage is full of free tools like postcard templates and author addresses. Plus, if you share your #DearBannedAuthor story on Twitter during Banned Books Week, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a grab bag of awesome intellectual freedom swag.
Ready to join the celebration? Visit the Banned Books Week website for more information and ideas.