(courtesy of the American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom)
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week 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.
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. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country.
Find out which challenged books made the 2015 list, which was released as part of the 2016 State of America’s Library Report.
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
OIF also offers support for librarians facing challenges to materials in their library. The support librarians seek will not be disclosed to any outside parties, and the challenge report OIF receives is kept confidential. Please see Challenges to Library Materials for resources and information to help you prepare for and respond to challenges.
If you would like more information about banned and challenged books, contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4220, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on how to get involved with Banned Books Week, email email@example.com.
For media inquiries related to Banned Books Week, please contact: Heather Cho, Media Relations Specialist, 312-280-4020, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Macey Morales, Deputy Director of ALA's Public Awareness Office, 312-280-4393, email@example.com.