For immediate release | September 17, 2020

GNCRT, IFRT, and Image Comics team-up to celebrate Banned Books Week with webinar series

ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table are celebrating Banned Books Week with Image Comics by producing a week-long webinar series featuring creators and librarians in conversation on topics centered around censorship and intellectual freedom. Libraries around the country are invited to welcome their staff and patrons for these exciting conversations during Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, which runs from September 27 – October 3. Each webinar will be a freewheeling discussion on creativity, freedom of expression, the (sometimes recent) history of banned and challenged comics, and how access to information is a fundamental right library patrons can expect librarians to defend across the world.

Presented by the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table with Image Comics, the webinars will be hosted on Zoom and are scheduled for each weekday during Banned Books Week - September 28 – October 2 at 1pm ET / 12 pm CT / 10 am PT. Registration is now open for all sessions, sign-up and reserve your seat today:

  • MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 -- Censorship: The Comics Code Authority & Rating Systems - Alex Cox (Image Comics) in conversation with Sarah Hartman-Caverly (Intellectual Freedom Round Table) on the history of the Comics Code Authority and its impact on comics censorship. This discussion will also touch on how current ratings systems and library classifications can impact readership.

  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 -- Banned through Comics Metadata!? - Librarians Allison Bailund (San Diego State University), Hallie Clawson (University of Washington Information School), and Rotem Anna Diamant (Canada Comics Open Library) in conversation with Brittany Netherton (Darien Public Library) on how the metadata of comics can limit and grant access to comics. From proper crediting of creators to the details of a catalog record - comics metadata matters.

  • WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 -- Black People in Comics - Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet, X-Factor), Johnnie Christmas (Tartatus, Sheltered) and Chuck Brown (Bitter Root) in conversation with Tamela Chambers (Black Caucus American Library Association) on how Black people have been historically portrayed in comics, from the obstacles of integrating Black characters into mainstream and superhero comics to present day works, issues Black creators face working in the comics industry, and the importance of non-white characters existing on the comics page.

  • THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1 -- (Un)Welcome to the Comics Industry - It's not just libraries that have banned comics - sometimes it's the comics industry itself. Chloe Ramos (Image Comics), Sina Grace (Self Obsessed, Not My Bag), Lauren McCubbin (Moonstruck, SFSX), and Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet, Captain Marvel) in conversation with Dan Wood (Escondido Public Library) will discuss how harassment serves as a form of censorship within the industry by creating unsafe and unwelcoming environments, and how awareness of these issues is important for librarians to understand.

  • FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 -- Comics: “Are These Real Books?” - Charles Soule (Undiscovered Country, Daredevil) in conversation with Matthew Noe (GNCRT President-Elect) on why comics so often wind up on annual most challenged books lists, what comics are most often challenged, and what you can do to overcome negative opinions of comics.

When you’re not attending one of these exciting webinars, we invite you to participate in Escape the Dead End of Censorship!, an ALA Intellectual Freedom RoundTable #BannedBooksWeek 2020 virtual escape room adventure, where you can demonstrate your knowledge of intellectual freedom by solving three clues and earn some digital swag for social media bragging rights!

Play Escape the Dead End of Censorship! (image-enhanced version via Google Forms):

Play Escape the Dead End of Censorship! (text-only version via Google Forms):

Hashtags to follow: #BannedBooksWeek, #libcomix, #educomix, #IntellectualFreedom

About the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table

The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association is dedicated to supporting library staff in all aspects of engaging with graphic novels and comics, including collection development, programming, and advocacy. For more information connect with GNCRT on Facebook: ALA Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table; Twitter: @libcomix; Instagram: @libcomix; or the GNCRT ALA Connect page.

About the Intellectual Freedom Round Table

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; and promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom. Twitter: @IFRT_ALA; Facebook: @IFRTALA; or the IFRT ALA Connect page.

About Image Comics

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has six individuals on the Board of Directors: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, and Eric Stephenson. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit

About ALA

Established in 1876, the American Library Association (ALA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.


Tina Coleman

Staff Liaison

American Library Association

Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table