So what is Banned Books Week and why does it exist?
According to the Banned Books Week website, this initiative “was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in libraries, bookstores, and schools. This annual awareness event highlights the value of free and open access to information and brings together the entire book community — librarians, educators, authors, publishers, booksellers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.”
According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, 2,571 unique titles were challenged in 2022, up from 1,858 in 2021. This is the highest number of book bans ever! And this year promises to be another record-setting year as there have already been 3,923 titles challenged in 2023.
To increase awareness about book banning efforts, libraries and bookstores across the country host events such as:
- read-ins, or read-a-thons
- banned book festivals
- book displays
- banned book trivia or bingo
- interview community leaders about their favorite banned books and post on social media
- author discussions about their experiences when their books were banned or challenged
- donating books to Little Free Libraries
- art shows based on banned books
- informational webinars on censorship, intellectual freedom, and book challenges
The Office for Intellectual Freedom also gathers information on book challenges across the country and publishes them in an annual “Top 10” list every year to increase awareness about these censorship attempts.
The Augusta University Libraries are proud to announce that all of these titles can be checked out from our libraries and we are hosting two Banned Book Read-Ins. The Read-Ins will be held at the Greenblatt Library on Monday, October 2 at 11am and at the Reese Library on Tuesday, October 3 at 11am. Attendees are welcome to join library staff in reading aloud from their favorite banned or challenged books.
You can also find more information about banned books on the AU Libraries’ Banned Books Week LibGuide: https://guides.augusta.edu/bannedbooksweek/home
American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom https://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/oif
Banned Books Week https://bannedbooksweek.org/about/
Book Ban Data https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/book-ban-data