For immediate release | September 27, 2023

Banned Books Week 2023: Programs, Day of Action, and Events Announced

CHICAGO — Libraries, schools, bookstores, and groups around the world will be calling attention to censorship – and ways to fight it – October 1 – 7, 2023. The American Library Association and Unite Against Book Bans will mark this year’s event with a slate of programs, a call to action on Let Freedom Read Day, videos from the Banned Books From the Big Chair read out, and more.

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has drawn attention to attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores. The 2023 Banned Books Week theme “Let Freedom Read” is a call to action about the urgent need to defend the right to read and to support the community of readers, library staff, educators, authors, publishers, and booksellers.

The Banned Books Week call to action is more essential than ever. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented an unparalleled increase in attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries and schools in 2022, and preliminary data for 2023 indicates the trend will continue. Between January 1 and August 31, 2023, OIF reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles. The number of unique titles challenged has increased by 20 percent from the same reporting period in 2022, the year in which the highest number of book challenges occurred since ALA began compiling this data more than 20 years ago. Most of the challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

OIF is proud to partner with the Banned Books Week Coalition, Unite Against Book Bans, and more on programming, a day of action, and more. Keep reading for all the details.


Authors and Advocates on Fighting Book Bans

October 4, 2023 • 12:00 p.m. CDT • Webinar

The last few years have seen an unparalleled attack on the right to read and organized campaigns against certain types of literature and programming in public and school libraries. No one person or organization can face this fight alone, and we all need to take direct action to combat censorship. Join author John Green (Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars), writer and illustrator Mike Curato (Flamer), librarian and Texas FReadom Fighters co-founder Becky Calzada, and Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels for a conversation about the impact of book bans and the ways in which they have taken action to fight censorship. The program will close with a short Q&A. Sign up here.

LeVar Burton LIVE in Conversation with Da’Taeveyon Daniels

October 4, 2023 • 7:00 p.m. CDT • Facebook Live (@bannedbooksweek)

Beloved reading advocate, writer, and television and film star—and Banned Books Week 2023 Honorary Chair—LeVar Burton will discuss his anti-censorship work and literacy advocacy with Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels during this rare live event, which will stream on Facebook. Follow @bannedbooksweek, and join us October 4, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. CDT.

Rally for the Right to Read: A Banned Books Week Event

October 5, 2023 • 1:00 p.m. CDT • Webinar

Join Penguin Random House, Booklist, and Unite Against Book Bans for a special Banned Books Week event as we premiere the video of Ibram X. Kendi’s motivating and moving speech from Rally for the Right to Read at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference. Introduced by Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association, in conversation with Chris Jackson, EVP, Publisher, & Editor-in-Chief of One World—this hour-long webinar will celebrate the right to read and librarians’ role in providing access for all. Representatives from Unite Against Book Bans will also join the webinar to share resources and offer a myriad of ways that viewers can join in the fight for the freedom to read.

Ten lucky LIVE webinar attendees will win a full set of Ibram X. Kendi’s books for their library. Register now!

A Seat at the Table: Youth Advocates on Fighting Book Bans

October 5, 2023 • 7:00 p.m. CDT • Webinar + Facebook Live

Some of the strongest voices in the fight against book bans are the students that censors claim they are protecting. Join Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels for an inspiring roundtable discussion about youth advocacy in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, and how that work can inform opposition to censorship around the country. Join us on Facebook (@bannedbooksweek) or register here.


Saturday, October 7, will mark Let Freedom Read Day, the first Banned Books Week day of action. From calling decision-makers to checking out or buying banned books, to writing letters and more, everyone is encouraged to do at least one thing to defend the right to read and to speak on behalf of those who ensure access to information. For information about ways to participate and resources, visit


If you attended the ALA Annual Conference in June, you might have had a chance to read a banned book from a very large chair! Throughout Banned Books Week, we’ll be uploading the videos recorded by Sage Publishing, an invaluable partner in the defense of intellectual and academic freedom. Visit the Banned Books Week YouTube account to see all the fabulous read out videos!

Keep your eye on Instagram throughout Banned Books Week – in addition to the live program with LeVar Burton, you can expect some exciting content from advocates. Follow @banned_books_week, @uniteagainstbooksbans, and @americanlibraryassociation.


The Freedom to Read Foundation is proud to partner with Penguin Random House, Little Free Library, and PEN America for The Banned Wagon: A Vehicle for Change. During Banned Books Week, the bookmobile hand out copies of banned books in some of the most affected communities, including Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Houston, Texas.

The American Federation of Teachers, the African American Policy Forum, Banned Books Week,, House of SpeakEasy, and the Urban Libraries Council are supporting The Banned Books Tour 2023, a bookmobile organized by The New Republic. The tour kicks off at the Brooklyn Book Festival, running from September 24 to October 2, and journey through the following cities:

  • Brooklyn, NY

  • Pittsburgh, PA

  • Washington, D.C.

  • Daytona, FL

  • Miami, FL

  • Tallahassee, FL

  • Jacksonville, FL

  • Norfolk, VA

  • Springfield, MO

  • Lexington, KY

  • Dallas, TX

  • Austin, TX

  • San Antonio, TX

Find the latest information about ALA’s Banned Books Week programming, book bans and challenges support at

Visit for information about Banned Books Week events and other programs, ways to participate, and promotional materials. Follow Banned Books Week on social media (@BannedBooksWeek on X and Facebook, @banned_books_week on Instagram) for the latest updates.

About the Banned Books Week Coalition

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international 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.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Banned Books Week Sweden (a collaboration between Sweden PEN and the Dawit Isaak Library), Children’s Book Council, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Freedom to Read Foundation, Little Free Library, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People for the American Way Foundation, and PFLAG National. Contributors include American Society of Journalists and Authors, Authors Guild, Index on Censorship, GLAAD, and Project Censored. Banned Books Week is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and receives generous support from HarperCollins and Penguin Random House.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit


Betsy Gomez

Assistant Director of Communications and Public Outreach

Office for Intellectual Freedom