Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us

Now that we are past the first week of August, which as Natalie Babbitt so famously wrote in Tuck Everlasting, is “the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning [and] the weeks . . . that follow [are] a drop to the chill of autumn” we look ahead six weeks to make sure our planning is in place for this fall’s Banned Books Week, which begins September 18.

During this especially intense period of widespread book challenges it’s especially important to take this time in 2022 to, as ALA says, “spotlight current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools [and] bring 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.” ALA provides many resources to support the celebration of the freedom to read and the raising of awareness of the dangers of creating barriers to that freedom, including free downloads and display ideas, all available here.

Even more resources are available at the collaborative Banned Books Week site thanks to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Banned Books Week Coalition. And congratulations and thanks for their leadership and inspiration are due to this year’s Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week, activist and author George M. Johnson.

George M. Johnson

What additional resources and ideas do you have to share as we continue planning for next month?

Andrew Medlar, co-chair of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee, is an ALSC past president who works at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

One comment

  1. Polly

    I admit we’re up in less-book-banning Canada, and in a pretty non-banning community, at least so far, so keep that in mind, but we’ve had great success with making buttons promoting Freedom to Read Week (our version of Banned Books Week up here, which has already taken place this year), and also pictures and videos of staff sharing favorite banned books and why we love them. The buttons prompted the best conversation I’ve ever had about book banning with a patron this past spring, which made me very happy. She got much more informed (and was grateful) and I got to share a passion!

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