The Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories mean to them, raising awareness of censorship and supporting the power of words and those who write them.
Free Expression for Young People, 1pm ET
Authors who have written about or defended intellectual freedom will examine censorship of books for young people and discuss young people’s freedom to read:
National Voter Registration Day:
With the freedom to read on the ballot this November, #UniteAgainstBookBans is urging voters to register, know who and what is on their ballot and find out where candidates stand. Resources about voter registration and engaging with candidates on the freedom to read are available at uniteagainstbookbans.org
A Conversation With Author Jennifer Niven, 6pm ET
New York Times-bestselling author Jennifer Niven discusses the implications of censorship for teens and their communities whenbook bans happen. Many of Niven’s books have been targeted for removal and censorship in multiple locations.
Breaking Bans: A Celebration of Challenged Books, 2pm ET
Authors and historians who have experienced first-hand censorship of their works will share their experience with censorship, how their books have changed the lives of individual readers in schools and libraries, and how librarians and communities can fight back. Dr. Emily Knox, editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy and author of Foundations of Intellectual Freedom (ALA Neal-Schuman), will moderate the conversation.
How to Fight Book Bans in Your Community, 2:30pm ET
Experienced activists who have been defending the right to read in their communities talk about community organizing and how you can fight book bans in your community.
What’s the Role of the Higher Ed Community in Supporting Intellectual Freedom?, 11am ET
ALA and SAGE Publishing bring together intellectual freedom experts to explore bans and restrictions on the rise and the role members of the academic community can (and should) play as censorship increasingly becomes institutionalized:
Practical Strategies for Defending Books in Your Library, 1pm ET
Drawing on ripped-from-the-headlines censorship challenges, four experienced library workers will provide practical strategies and resources that library workers can use to defend challenged materials:
Freedom to Read: Fighting Book Banning and Censorship in Our Libraries, 7pm ET
Hartford (Conn.) Public Library and the Mark Twain House & Museum will host a discussion of book banning trends since the 1885 publication of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was immediately banned from some public libraries when released to the public.
Intellectual Freedom & You: A Banned Books Week webinar for library supporters, 7pm ET
Memorial Hall, Tewksbury and other libraries in Massachusetts will host a webinar on how library users can effectively support libraries, library workers, and free expression, featuring Martin Garnar, director of the Amherst College Library and editor of the Intellectual Freedom Manual. Tenth Edition (ALA Editions).
A public list of local Banned Books Week events nationwide is available on bannedbooksweek.org/events
Image Credit: Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual event, sponsored by the American Library Association, reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where the freedom to express oneself and the freedom to choose what opinions and viewpoints to consume are both met. As the Intellectual Freedom Manual (ALA, 7th edition) states:
Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate; and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of the work, and the viewpoints of both the author and receiver of information. Freedom to express oneself through a chosen mode of communication, including the Internet, becomes virtually meaningless if access to that information is not protected. Intellectual freedom implies a circle, and that circle is broken if either freedom of expression or access to ideas is stifled.
Although they were the targets of attempted bannings, most of the books featured during BBW were not banned, thanks to the efforts of librarians to maintain them in their collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.