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A Quick and Easy Guide to Banned Books Week for Librarians


This proclamation lets you proclaim Banned Books Week at your local library. Feel free to use it as is, or modify it for your own celebration of the freedom to read. (RESOLVED, that the _______________________ Library celebrates the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, September 24-October 2, 2005, and be it further . . .) Word version | PDF version

Suggested Editorial

Edit and adapt this opinion column for your local newspaper. Include the name, address, telephone number and credentials of the person submitting (library director, president of library board, trustee, school/campus administrator, community activist, etc.). Word version | PDF version

Explore Banned Books Week

Latest Banned Books Week Press Kit

Who decides what you will find freely available in your public and school libraries? Almost 25 years after its initiation, Banned Books Week (September 23–September 30, 2006) has special resonance as gay- and lesbian-themed books and other GLBT materials come under attack.

Why Banned Books Week?

Includes history of Banned Books Week and why it is important to celebrate your freedom to read, and BBW sponsors.

Challenged and Banned Books

Includes "Why are Books Challenged?" "Who Challenges Books?" "What's the Difference Between a Challenge and a Banning?" "How is the List of Most Challenged Books Tabulated?" "The Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2002," and "The Most Frequently Challenged Authors of 2002."

New for 2006! The ALA Online Store is now selling the 2006 Banned Books Week materials. Phone information is 1-866-SHOP-ALA. See additional ordering information.

Book and Author Challenges

See also Dealing with Challenges to Books and Other Library Materials, Reporting a Challenge, and Office for Intellectual Freedom Challenge Database Form.

“Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”—ALA Library Bill of Rights

Suggested Editorial

Suggested Editorial

Edit and adapt this opinion column for your local newspaper. Include the name, address, telephone number and credentials of the person submitting (library director, president of library board, trustee, school/campus administrator, community activist, etc.).

Elect to Read a Banned Book

Throughout the country, most children are starting a new academic year. Teachers are sending out their lists of required readings, and parents are beginning to gather books. In some cases, classics like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Catcher in the Rye," and "To Kill a Mocking Bird," may not be included in curriculum or available in the school library due to challenges made by parents or administrators.

Since 1990, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 7,800 book challenges, including 458 in 2003. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About three out of four of all challenges are to material in schools or school libraries, and one in four are to material in public libraries. OIF estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded.

It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and reading materials like "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," "Slaughterhouse Five," the Harry Potter series, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series, which topped OIF's most challenged list in 2003 and ended the four-year reign of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, remain available.

The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children.  However, challenges are not simply an expression of a point of view; on the contrary, they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best—their parents!

In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, the ALA and [Name of Library] are sponsoring Banned Books Week (September 25 - October 2, 2004), an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. This year's observance is themed "Elect to Read a Banned Book," and commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society—the freedom to read freely—and encourages us not to take this freedom for granted.

Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. [Name of library] and thousands of libraries and bookstores across the country will celebrate the freedom to read by participating in special events, exhibits, and read-outs that showcase books that have been banned or threatened. The [name of library] will be hosting the following activities: [List activities, displays, presentations, read-outs of favorite banned books etc. with date, time and location.]

The American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the ALA; the American Society of Journalists and Authors; the Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores sponsor Banned Books Week. The Library of Congress Center for the Book endorses the observance.

American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Elect to read an old favorite or a new banned book this week.


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Word document of Suggested Editorial

PDF document of Suggested Editorial

For information on Banned Books Week: Celebrate the Freedom to Read, please contact the American Library Association/Office for Intellectual Freedom call OIF at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4223, or at

Links to non-ALA sites have been provided because these sites may have information of interest. Neither the American Library Association nor the Office for Intellectual Freedom necessarily endorses the views expressed or the facts presented on these sites; and furthermore, ALA and OIF do not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised or available on these sites.

Related Files

Suggested Editorial (WORD)
Suggested Editorial (PDF File)