How to Celebrate Banned Books Week 2007

Office for Intellectual Freedom

The week of September 29 through October 6, 2007, marks the 26th anniversary of Banned Books Week, ALA’s annual celebration of the freedom to read.

We invite you to explore what the week means. Reflect on your freedom to read, cherish it, and, by all means, read what you want to read. As the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, said, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

Here are some of our suggestions to help you celebrate the week. We hope one is a good fit for you. If you can think of other ways to celebrate the week, please share them with us at Your ideas may inspire other people!

Don’t wait for September. Start reading celebrating your freedom to read now! Read one or all the top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2006. Number one on this list, challenged for promoting homosexuality, is Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award-winning And Tango Makes Three, about two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin couple. Also on the list are The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler; two books by Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye and Beloved; Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher; and The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier.

Display your support for the freedom to read with ALA’s Banned Books Week materials.

Take the time to reflect that the First Amendment, intellectual freedom, and the freedom to read should not be taken for granted.

Join the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, and the Newberry Library in Pioneer Plaza, at Michigan Ave. and the Chicago River, on Saturday, September 29, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., for the Banned Books Week Read-Out! Local Chicago celebrities join several acclaimed authors to read passages from their favorite banned and “challenged” books. Authors scheduled to appear include Chris Crutcher, Robie Harris, Carolyn Mackler, Peter Parnell, and Justin Richardson.

Organize your own Banned Books Read-Out! at your school, public library, or favorite bookstore.

Mount these Web badges on your blogs and home pages to help spread the word about BBW.

Join IFAN, the Intellectual Freedom Action Network, a grassroots, ad hoc group of volunteers who have identified themselves as willing to come forward in support of the freedom to read in censorship controversies in their communities.

Dedicate one day’s programming on your National Public Radio (NPR) station to Banned Books Week. For example, “Today’s programming on [the name of the radio station] is made possible in part by [your name], who is celebrating this Banned Books Week by re-reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings [or another favorite banned or challenged book] or by accomplishing some other activity related to the week.

Reread one of your favorite books. Chances are, it’s on the list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000.

Write or call your representatives and let them know you want them to protect your freedom to read and your privacy.

Join or support an intellectual freedom advocate, such as the Freedom to Read Foundation, the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, or the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.

BBW is a celebration of our freedom to read, to seek, hold, receive, and disseminate ideas, even if they are unorthodox or unpopular. Help spread the word! Encourage your friends and colleagues to celebrate their freedom to read. It’s one of our most important democratic freedoms!

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