For immediate release | July 20, 2011

Banned Books Week to feature Virtual Read-out in September

CHICAGO – This year, for the first time, readers from around the world will be able to participate virtually in Banned Books Week, Sept. 24 – Oct.1. During this year’s celebration of Banned Books Week, readers will be able to proclaim the virtues of their favorite banned books by posting videos of themselves reading excerpts to a dedicated YouTube channel.

Videos (no more than two minutes long) can be submitted by anyone as long as the video includes a reading from a banned or challenged book. (A list of banned literary classics can be found at Alternatively, videos of up to three minutes can be submitted giving eyewitness accounts of local challenges.

Although most videos will be posted by individuals, libraries and bookstores are encouraged to film their patrons and customers and upload the videos as part of their Banned Books Week celebration. Publishers are invited to provide videos of their authors, either reading from a banned book or talking about the problem of censorship.

Videos can be posted beginning in early September. Details will be available in early August on the joint Banned Books Week website, Questions can be sent to

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs as part of their activities. Libraries, bookstores and community groups have created new ways to celebrate Banned Books Week, thanks to generous grants provided by the Judith Krug Memorial Fund. Copenhagen and London joined in the celebration of Banned Books Week in 2010.

The sponsors of Banned Books Week - including the American Library Association (ALA), the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Association of College Stores, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English and the PEN American Center, with the endorsement of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress - have joined forces to create, a website designed to support global participation in Banned Books Week This joint website will also link to each of the above organizations’ websites for further information and Banned Books Week activities.

Banned Books Week highlights the threats to the freedom to read posed by the hundreds of challenges to books in schools and libraries every year. The American Library Association reports 348 challenges last year, but acknowledges that many go unreported.

Last year’s most challenged book was "And Tango Makes Three," an award-winning children’s picture book, based on an actual incident, that tells the story of two male penguins who hatch an abandoned egg and parent the chick. The book has been on the list of most frequently challenged books for five years.

Other titles frequently challenged last year include Sherman Alexie’s "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World" and books in Stephenie Meyer’s "Twilight" series. ALA publishes a Top Ten Banned Books list annually:


Chris Finan

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

(917) 509-0340

Barbara Jones

American Library Association


Judith Platt

Association of American Publishers

(202) 220-4551



Barbara Jones