The words “Freedom to Read Foundation: Grants for Banned Books Week” in read on a gray background with the FTRF’s logo, a book with a torch on the cover, in front of the word freedom

Freedom to Read Foundation Banned Book Week Grant Recipients

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.

The words “Drag Queen Storytime” on a background of multicolored balloons

Drag Queen Storytime Continues to Stir Up Controversy as Well as Excitement Among Library Patrons

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.

Intellectual Freedom Toolkit Cover Image

New from ALSC: Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit

The ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee has just released their Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit. Intellectual freedom is not just for Banned Books Week, and this toolkit offers ways to provide bitesize servings of important IF concepts at any time of year. Rather than replacing existing programs with IF-centered activities, we can embed those ideas in popular programming that’s already being done.

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.