It’s Banned Books Week (September 27-October 3, 2020) and libraries around the country are joining forces with the American Library Association (ALA)’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and the Banned Books Week Coalition in support of our right to read what we want, when we want.
This year’s theme is “Censorship is a Dead End” and will again spotlight current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. Held at the end of September, this important campaign brings 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.
Banned Books Week was launched in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges, organized protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.
Here are a few ways you can help fight against censorship:
Read a Banned Book: Browse the lists of commonly banned and challenged titles, and grab one from our member libraries! You can even encourage your local book club to read and discuss one of the titles.
Report Censorship: If you hear of a challenge at your local library, support your librarian for free and open access to library materials by contacting the OIF!
Support Westchester Library System: We can’t carry out our mission to ensure that all residents have seamless access to excellent library service throughout Westchester County without you—and Banned Books Week is a great time to support the Westchester Library System.
Write a letter to a favorite banned or challenged author: Take some time to thank a banned or challenged author for their words! Author addresses and Twitter handles can be found on the Dear Banned Author page.
Visit the ALA website for more ways to get involved and celebrate Banned Books Week!