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Banned Books Week: Keep on Keepin’ on in the Fight for the Freedom to Read

In 1964, Len Chandler, an African American folk singer and activist recorded, “Keep On Keepin’ On,” a song that encapsulates the idea of persevering in the face of challenges. Chandler’s song was popularized during the civil rights movement but has continuing relevance today as challenges to books in schools and libraries surge, and librarians come under attack. The theme for Banned Books Week 2023 (October 1-7) is “Let Freedom Read.” A nod to the civil rights era, this theme also serves as a rallying cry for those who believe that defending the freedom to read is an essential part of safeguarding our broader freedoms of thought, expression, and creativity.  Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has highlighted the resilience and enduring spirit of those voices who refuse to be silenced. Moreover, Banned Books Week serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggles against censorship. It is crucial…

Intellectual Freedom

Banned Books Week 2021

As August quickly fades into September, students are heading back to the classroom, the weather begins to change, and the anticipation of pumpkin spice is in the air. For the library universe, it is also the perfect time to begin planning for Banned Books Week, scheduled to take place from September 26th through October 2nd this year. If you’ve worked in libraries for any length of time, chances are you’ve had a title challenged for something in its content that someone felt was inappropriate. Children’s literature is especially vulnerable, as parents question books that use “vulgar” language, contain sexual references, or dare to challenge the status quo of society.