Activity Ideas for Banned Books Week

What you can do to fight censorship, keep books available in your libraries, and promote the freedom to read!

Here are some of our suggestions to help you celebrate the week. We hope one is a good fit for you. If you can think of other ways to celebrate the week, please share them with us at oif@ala.org. Your ideas may inspire other people!

Stay informed. If you read or hear about a challenge at your school or public library, support your librarian and free and open access to library materials. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom estimates they learn of only 20 to 25 percent of book challenges. Let us know if there is a challenge in your community. Find out what the policy is for reviewing challenged materials at your school or public library. Join the Intellectual Freedom Action News (IFACTION) e-list.

Organize your own Banned Books Week at your school, public library, or favorite bookstore. If you would prefer to attend a Banned Books Week event, please visit the calendar of events page for ideas on where to go in your area.

Help spread the word about Banned Books Week by downloading the Banned Books web badges on our Free Downloads page and hosting them on your blogs and home pages. You can also create a public service announcement (see our sample PSA script for ideas). 

Get involved. Go to school board meetings. Volunteer to help your local school or public library create an event that discusses the freedom to read and helps educate about censorship—maybe a First Amendment film festival, a readout, a panel discussion, an author reading or a poster contest for children illustrating the concept of free speech.

Speak out. Write letters to the editor, your public library director and your local school principal supporting the freedom to read. Talk to your neighbors and friends about why everyone should be allowed to choose for themselves and their families what they read. Encourage your governor, city council and/or mayor to proclaim "Banned Books Week - Celebrating the Freedom to Read" in your state or community. See our sample letter to the editor for ideas. 

Exercise your rights! Check out or re-read a favorite banned book. Encourage your book group to read and discuss one of the books. Give one of your favorite books as a gift.

Join the Freedom to Read Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to the legal and financial defense of intellectual freedom, especially in libraries. You can also support the cause by buying Banned Books Week posters, buttons and T-shirts online.

Dedicate one day's programming on your National Public Radio (NPR) station to Banned Books Week. For example, "Today's programming on [the name of the radio station] is made possible in part by [your name], who is celebrating this Banned Books Week by re-reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings [or another favorite banned or challenged book] or by accomplishing some other activity related to the week.

Participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out! Readers from across the country and around the world can participate virtually by uploading videos of themselves reading from their favorite banned/challenged book. Check out the Virtual Read-Out page for more information.

Proclaim Banned Books Week at your local public library.  See our sample proclamation for ideas.