Celebrate Banned Books Week - September 18-24th, 2022
Why Banned Books Week?
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Highlighting the value of free and open access to information, Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek, to publish, to read, and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read. –- Banned Books Week Q&A
Book Challenge vs. Book Ban
An attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.
Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.
A book banning is the actual removal of those materials.
A change in the access status of material, based on the content of the work and made by a governing authority or its representatives. Such changes include exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade level changes.
The right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.
Whether by providing legal support, educational resources for parents, teachers, and librarians, or opportunities to organize on the grassroots level, there are many organizations which fight against efforts to ban books in school libraries and beyond, and many more which fight censorship more broadly.
Learn more about some of these organizations, and/or get involved, below:
At least 40 percent of bans listed in the Index (1,109 bans) are connected to either proposed or enacted legislation, or to political pressure exerted by state officials or elected lawmakers to restrict the teaching or presence of certain books or concepts.
PEN America has identified at least 50 groups involved in pushing for book bans across the country operating at the national, state or local levels.
From the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom
The most common themes in book challenges include:
©2023 St. Catherine University Library, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA