As many of you know, diversity was the focus of our Banned Books Week 2015. But the Office for Intellectual Freedom is also a member of a larger coalition, embracing many other partners (see last paragraph below). They/we came out this week with an announcement about the focus of the Coalition’s 2016 campaign. Not surprisingly, the push for diverse materials and diverse viewpoints has not disappeared. The press release is below.
New York, NY, February 24, 2016 – Diversity will be the focus of Banned Books Week in 2016, the event’s national coalition announced today. Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, will run from September 25−October 1, 2016, and will be observed in libraries, schools, bookstores and other community settings across the nation and the world.
According to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom it is estimated that over half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities. “We see an urgent need to address the issue of diverse books being challenged or banned,” says Charles Brownstein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition. “When readers are denied the freedom to explore diverse ideas and multiple viewpoints, we lose an opportunity to create engagement and understanding within our communities.”
This year’s Banned Books Week will celebrate literature written by diverse writers that has been banned or challenged, as well as explore why diverse books are being disproportionately singled out in the first place.
The Coalition will be partnering with We Need Diverse Books to bring meaningful conversation to this year’s programming.
BannedBooksWeek.org is a hub for information about how individuals and institutions can get involved. The website also includes resources and activities provided by event sponsors.
The Banned Books Week Coalition is a national alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Association of American University Presses, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, People For the American Way Foundation, PEN American Center, and Project Censored.