As the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers gear up for Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday, their respective city libraries are teaming up to help protect the freedom to read.
Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) and San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) have made a friendly wager on the performance of their city’s teams. A library representative in the city whose team loses the Super Bowl will sport the winning city’s library gear and read a banned book in a recording that will be shared on social media as a part of the Tackle Censorship campaign, which began during Super Bowl LVII with Kansas City Public Library and the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Tackle Censorship is a repository of resources to help protect the freedom to read. From a list of the top 10 most banned books in the country to information on relevant legislation to current statistics on book bans and challenges, the site is invaluable in the fight for the freedom to read. It even has information on how to obtain a library card if you live in San Francisco, Kansas City, or anywhere.
“Kansas City is thrilled to be making another Super Bowl appearance, but book banning remains as serious a concern as it was last year,” said Carrie Coogan, deputy director for public affairs and community engagement at KCPL, in a statement. “We are excited to come together with the San Francisco Public Library to highlight this critical issue, even if we hope they are on the losing side of our bet. And with a coach whose last name shows the importance of Reid-ing, how could we lose?”
“In San Francisco, only our passionate commitment to intellectual freedom and combating censorship surpasses our love for the 49ers!” said SFPL City Librarian Michael Lambert. “San Francisco Public Library’s mission is to connect our diverse communities to learning, conversations, and ideas, while serving as an affirming space for all. This collaboration with Kansas City Public Library allows us to celebrate our collective dedication to ensuring that every member of our community can read freely.”
Attempted book bans continue to rise in the United States. In 2022, the American Library Association (ALA) recorded 1,269 attempts, the highest number in more than 20 years. Public libraries accounted for 48% of book challenges. In addition to book bans, libraries also face challenges to displays, exhibitions, programming, and more. Even as these attempts are rising in frequency, the majority of the public oppose book bans: According to Unite Against Book Bans, 71% of voters are against removing books from public libraries.
Even though their teams will be against each other in the big game, KCPL and SFPL are united in battling book bans together. The stakes could not be higher in protecting the right to read. For more information and to learn how to join the fight against book bans, visit TackleCensorship.org.
Check out the fun video that KCPL and SFPL made to promote their "rivalry!"
Alarmed by the escalating attempts to censor books? Here are steps additional you can take now.
- Follow news and social media in your community and state to keep apprised of organizations working to censor library or school materials.
- Show up for library workers at school or library board meetings and speak as a library advocate and community stakeholder who supports a parent’s right to restrict reading materials for their own child but not for all
- Help provide a safety net for library professionals as they defend intellectual freedom in their communities by giving to the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.
- Educate friends, neighbors, and family members about censorship and how it harms communities. Share information from Banned Books Week.
- Join the Unite Against Book Bans movement to learn what you can do to defend the freedom to read in your community.