What is Banned Books Week?
Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. 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.
In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIAP+ persons.
The theme for Banned Books Week 2022 is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers. Banned Books Week is both a reminder of the unifying power of stories and the divisiveness of censorship, and a call to action for readers across the country to push back against censorship attempts in their communities.
(Source: American Library Association)
How is the library celebrating Banned Books Week?
This Banned Books Week, the library is commemorating the freedom to read in many ways.
Blind Date with a Banned Book: We have displays of wrapped banned books at both the Central Service Desk on the first floor and in the Reference Department downstairs. You can’t see the cover, title, or author- the only information given is the age range of the title and why it has been banned or challenged in the last year. Take a chance on a challenged book and find your next great read!
Banned Books Week Buttons: We have Banned Books Week buttons at each service desk throughout the library to give out- grab one and show your support of your right to read!
Banned Books Week Photobooth: We have a Banned Books Week backdrop and display near the library entrance- take a photo and pick up a challenged book, and don’t forget to post it and tag us on social media!
Social Media: We will be posting different community members with banned books throughout the week- follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter to see some friendly faces sharing their favorite titles and celebrating the freedom to read!
Finally, each department has a list of titles that have been challenged or banned in the country within the last year. See the icons below to find titles within each age group.