Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

Banned Books in August

A raised arm behind a red book is holding a shouting blue megaphone. To the left of the image, the words "Banning Books Silences Stories- Speak Out #bannedbooksweek" appear
Image Source: ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s website on Banned Books.

Yes, I know it’s only the beginning of August, but if you’re still in Summer Reading mode, than maybe you haven’t started planning for the fall yet.  If you’re a plan ahead master, then feel free to skip this post.

Last September, I wrote a post for ALSC Blog about Banned Books Week, which you can read here.  What probably did not come across in my blog post from last year, was how rushed I felt.  I had just started at a new branch, and had spent so much time adjusting  that I didn’t get to think far in advance. While I ended up doing a whole series of programs around Banned Books, I did not get the turn out that I really hoped for.  This year I’m hoping to change that by putting a new spin on one of last year’s favorite programs-Banned Book Bingo.

Using a Bingo Card generator, I was able to swap the cover art of Banned Books with the bingo card numbers.  Instead of shouting “B4” during the game, I shouted out “Forever by Judy Blume” and held up the book. All of our participants were able to take home a Where’s Waldo? themed prize, thanks to a gift from our local publishing house, Candlewick.

I went the route of using images, rather than titles for two reasons.  The first being it was more visually appealing.The second was it allowed all kids to participate, regardless of reading level.  This year, I am hoping to turn the program into a real event.  Wednesdays are our late night, and I’m planning on opening Banned Books Bingo up to everyone, not just kids! Families, seniors, young professionals everyone will be invited.  In addition to having snacks, patrons will be able to take a photo with their favorite banned book and go on a blind date with a famously challenged title.

I define this particular program’s success by the patron interactions-  particularly between the kids and their caretakers.  The goal is to get them talking about banned books, censorship and what these terms mean in their lives and worlds. I am planning on utilizing some of the downloads from the  Banned Books Week website to help facilitate these discussions.

Are you now as excited about Banned Books Week as I am?  I hope so, and I hope that by writing this post now, rather than September, I may have given you some time to come up with your own program!


This year, Banned Books Week is September 23-29.  To find out more about Banned Books Week and get more ideas, visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s  Banned Books Week Website 


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: III. Programming Skills and IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials.

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