Intellectual Freedom Awards

The First Joint Intellectual Freedom Awards

For the first time, the Intellectual Freedom Awards were presented in a joint awards ceremony. The awards given are: Robert P. Downs Award, the Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award, the John Philip Immroth Award, and the Freedom to Read Foundation Honor Roll. Learn more about this past year’s intellectual freedom powerhouses here.

ALA Graphic: Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us. Banned Books Week September 26 - October 2, 2021

Jason Reynolds Named Inaugural Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week has never had an honorary chair before but unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. Jason Reynolds will be the first honorary chair of Banned Books Week and he is excited about it! This year marks the 39th celebration of Banned Books Week since its first celebratory year in 1982. The 2021 theme is Books Unite Us; Censorship Divides Us and it will take place from September 26th to October 2nd.

Photo of the main building of the Lafayette Public Library

The Situation on the Ground in Lafayette, Louisiana

There seems to be an intellectual freedom trend with Libraries being attacked from within by their Library Boards. No matter who wins these debates, it is the community that will always lose. The most recent example comes out of Lafayette, Louisiana. Here, the Board rejected a grant for a voting rights program because it did not feature both sides.

Report Censorship 2020 ala.org/challengereporting

Remember to Report Censorship for 2020!

If there was any instance this year in which you asked yourself, “Is this censorship?” then you should report it to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom by New Years Eve. If it made your library spidey senses tingle, it is probably worth a report. Read on for more information on what censorship looked like in 2020.

Kurt Vonnegut Slaughter House Five Book Cover

Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut!

Today is both the late Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday and Veteran’s Day. Vonnegut himself was both a banned author and a veteran of World War 2. His most challenged, banned, and burned book is Slaughterhouse Five. This book in particular shares his World War 2 experience. And yet it, among many other books penned by veterans, remains on the frequently banned and challenged lists. Today, read a book by a veteran — maybe Slaughterhouse Five to start.