This year’s Banned Books Week takes place from October 1–7, 2023! Let Freedom Read Day is happening on the last day of Banned Books Week. For that day (and for every day afterwards), we’re asking you to stand up with us and take action in the fight against banned books!
It’s time to defend books from censorship and stand up for library staff, educators, writers, and bookseller. There are many ways to take action, like calling your school and library administrators, checking out a banned book, writing a letter to your local boards, or even attending a meeting.
“The right to free expression is a basic human right and essential to human fulfillment and autonomy and it is our right as citizens of the United States.” —Emily J.M. Knox, associate professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and chair of the board of the National Coalition Against Censorship, said in a testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on book bannings on September 12.
The number of demands to ban or restrict library materials nearly doubled in 2022, according to a report from the American Library Association. A record 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021. Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.
Learn more about the record high book bans and how ALA is responding in our blog post!
Find Support & Get Involved
We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) fights book bans and champions diverse voices via its Books Save Lives initiative, supporting the creators and educators hardest hit by book challenges. WNDB also provides media training for activists and authors to better prepare themselves to present the importance of diverse books to the mainstream media.
PEN America provides tip sheets to students, authors, and librarians on how to oppose book bans and fight harassment. PEN America also filed federal lawsuits, along with publishers and authors, to challenge removals and unconstitutional restrictions that violate the rights to free speech for school libraries.
Unite Against Book Bans is a campaign to empower readers to stand together in the fight against censorship. This information hub is for both awareness and, more importantly, action: it’s a one-stop shop for individuals to start their own grassroots movements. Visit the link todonate to the campaign or to join the impressive list of national partners from education, publishing, and other sectors.
National Coalition Against Censorship is on a mission to promote freedom of thought, inquiry and expression and oppose censorship in all its forms. NCAC is a coalition of over 50 national nonprofits.
American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom actively advocates and educates in defense of intellectual freedom—the rights of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Intellectual freedom is a core value of the library profession, and a basic right in our democratic society. A publicly supported library provides free, equitable, and confidential access to information for all people of its community.
National Council of Teachers of English’s Intellectual Freedom Center recognizes that the freedom to read and other components of intellectual freedom are vital to literacy and our mission. Through the Intellectual Freedom Center, NCTE has for many decades offered guidance, tools, and other support to teachers faced with challenges in classrooms and schools pertaining to texts (e.g., literary works, films and videos, drama productions), student writing, and/or to teaching methods.
Freedom to Read Foundation is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association. FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect – and individuals to access – information.
Read Banned Books
At Lee & Low, we truly believe that Books Save Lives. We strive to tell important stories that will connect with readers and make them feel seen. Support our creators and fight against book bans by reading one or all of these books during Banned Books Week and beyond!
Some Good News
We’ll be updating this section with links to stories of hope and progress in the fight against censorship!