Libraries, schools, bookstores, and groups around the world will be calling attention to censorship – and ways to fight it – October 1 – 7, 2023. The American Library Association and Unite Against Book Bans will mark this year’s event with a slate of programs, a call to action on Let Freedom Read Day, videos from the Banned Books From the Big Chair read out, and more! (We’re adding more as details finalize, so be sure to check back.)
The 2023 Banned Books Week theme “Let Freedom Read” is a call to action about the urgent need to defend the right to read and to support the community of readers, library staff, educators, authors, publishers, and booksellers. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented an unparalleled increase in attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries and schools in 2022, and preliminary data for 2023 indicates the trend will continue. Most of the challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
OIF is proud to partner with the Banned Books Week Coalition, Unite Against Book Bans, and more on programming, a day of action, and more. Keep reading for all the details.
Authors and Advocates on Fighting Book Bans
October 4, 2023 • 12:00 p.m. CDT • Webinar
The last few years have seen an unparalleled attack on the right to read and organized campaigns against certain types of literature and programming in public and school libraries. No one person or organization can face this fight alone, and we all need to take direct action to combat censorship. Join author John Green (Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars), writer and illustrator Mike Curato (Flamer), librarian and Texas FReadom Fighters co-founder Becky Calzada, and Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels for a conversation about the impact of book bans and the ways in which they have taken action to fight censorship. The program will close with a short Q&A. Sign up here.
LeVar Burton LIVE on Facebook in Conversation with Da’Taeveyon Daniels
October 4, 2023 • 7:00 p.m. CDT • Facebook (@BannedBooksWeek)
Actor, director, literacy advocate—and Banned Books Week 2023 Honorary Chair—LeVar Burton will discuss his anti-censorship work with Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels during this rare live event, which will stream on Instagram. Follow @banned_books_week, and join us October 4, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. CDT!
Rally for the Right to Read: A Banned Books Week Event
October 5, 2023 • 1:00 p.m. CDT • Webinar
Join Penguin Random House, Booklist, and Unite Against Book Bans for a special Banned Books Week event as we premiere the video of Ibram X. Kendi’s motivating and moving speech from Rally for the Right to Read at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference. Introduced by Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association, in conversation with Chris Jackson, EVP, Publisher, & Editor-in-Chief of One World—this hour-long webinar will celebrate the right to read and librarians’ role in providing access for all. Representatives from Unite Against Book Bans will also join the webinar to share resources and offer a myriad of ways that viewers can join in the fight for the freedom to read.
Ten lucky LIVE webinar attendees will win a full set of Ibram X. Kendi’s books for their library. Register now!
A Seat at the Table: Youth Advocates on Fighting Book Bans
October 5, 2023 • 7:00 p.m. CDT • Webinar + Facebook Live
Some of the strongest voices in the fight against book bans are the students that censors claim they are protecting. Join Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels for an inspiring roundtable discussion about youth advocacy against book bans, and how that work can inform opposition to censorship around the country. Join us on Facebook (@BannedBooksWeek) or register here.
Let Freedom Read Day
Saturday, October 7, will mark Let Freedom Read Day, the first Banned Books Week day of action. From calling decision-makers to checking out or buying banned books, to writing letters and more, everyone is encouraged to do at least one thing to defend the right to read and to speak on behalf of those who ensure access to information. For information about ways to participate and resources, visit bannedbooksweek.org/let-freedom-read-day/
Banned Books Week on Social Media
If you attended the ALA Annual Conference in June, you might have had a chance to read a banned book from a very large chair! Throughout Banned Books Week, we’ll be uploading the videos from Banned Books From the Big Chair, recorded by Sage Publishing, an invaluable partner in the defense of intellectual and academic freedom. Visit the Banned Books Week YouTube account to see all the fabulous read out videos!
Keep your eye on Instagram throughout Banned Books Week – in addition to the live program with LeVar Burton, you can expect some exciting content from advocates throughout the week. Follow @banned_books_week, @uniteagainstbooksbans, and @americanlibraryassociation.
The Freedom to Read Foundation is proud to partner with Penguin Random House, Little Free Library, and PEN America for The Banned Wagon: A Vehicle for Change. During Banned Books Week, the bookmobile hand out copies of banned books in some of the most affected communities, including Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Houston, Texas.
The American Federation of Teachers, the African American Policy Forum, Banned Books Week, Bookshop.org, House of SpeakEasy, and the Urban Libraries Council are supporting The Banned Books Tour 2023, a bookmobile organized by The New Republic. The tour kicks off at the Brooklyn Book Festival, running from September 24 to October 2, and journey through the following cities:
- Brooklyn, NY
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Washington, D.C.
- Daytona, FL
- Miami, FL
- Tallahassee, FL
- Jacksonville, FL
- Norfolk, VA
- Springfield, MO
- Lexington, KY
- Dallas, TX
- Austin, TX
- San Antonio, TX
Find the latest information about ALA’s Banned Books Week programming, book bans and challenges support at ala.org/bbooks.
Visit BannedBooksWeek.org for information about Banned Books Week events and other programs, ways to participate, and promotional materials. Follow Banned Books Week on social media (@BannedBooksWeek on X and Facebook, @banned_books_week on Instagram) for the latest updates.