Every year the Freedom to Read Foundation awards libraries with grants to facilitate programming, outreach, displays and other promotional work around Banned Books Week. These grants are funded out of the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. This year’s banned book week theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” and will take place at libraries, schools, and booksellers around the country on Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2021. This year four public libraries and one school library were awarded grants.
Bechdel is most known for penning the graphic memoir Fun Home, which was later adapted into a Tony-winning Broadway Musical, and her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, which ran for 25 year in print and was later published online. Bechdel’s debut graphic novel, Fun Home, was published in 2006 and is about her relationship with her closeted father and her own journey with her sexuality. This year Bechdel reenters the graphic novel scene after nearly a decade away with The Secret to Superhuman Strength.
Since its creation in 2015, Drag Queen Storytime or Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), as the official organization calls it, has gained as much negative attention as it has positive among library patrons and community members.. In 2019, 30 challenges were reported to the OIF for Drag Queen Storytimes and other Pride related events. But there are many Drag Queen Storytime fans and advocates out there as well, with LGBT-friendly churches stepping in to host events when libraries no longer can, to people coming to these events to show their love and support in the face of angry protesters. And while these programs tend to draw in big crowds because they are fun, they also have educational benefits as well.
The Committee on Professional Ethics has proposed a ninth principle be added to the ALA Code of Ethics. This proposed additional principle is meant to codify the library and information services profession’s commitment to racial and social justice and further emphasize diversity and inclusion as one of the profession’s core beliefs.
Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books by Pat R. Scales features 33 books for youth that have been challenged since 2015. The book is a great primer for those looking to learn more about challenges to children’s literature. The book also includes a lot of further reading materials and backmatter that is a great jumping off point for researchers to learn more about issues of censorship.
Dan Rather, veteran journalist and author of the book What Unites Us: Reflections of Patriotism, sat down with Adult editor for Booklist Donna Seaman to discuss his book and the important role libraries play in sustaining our democracy. Their discussion also touched on the importance of funding libraries, the free and independent press, and science literacy.
A challenge to the book Call Me Max by Kyle Lukoff, a picture book about a transgender child, led to the Murray School District in Murray Utah temporarily suspending their equity book bundle program. The equity book bundle program is a program to help provide teachers with more diverse titles, particularly racially diverse titles, to add to their curriculum. Call Me Max is not part of the equity book bundle program, which has led to many questioning why the school district made the decision to put the program on hold in light of the challenge.