Unite Against Book Bans challenges candidates to oppose censorship, support librarians and educators as election season rolls in

For Immediate Release
Mon, 10/03/2022


Shawnda Hines

Deputy Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy


CHICAGO – The Unite Against Book Bans coalition today urged candidates for elected office to sign a pledge (below) supporting the freedom to read and opposing book bans. Introduced on the first day of Voter Education Week, the candidate pledge is a public document that advocates can request their candidates sign and promote.  

The Unite Against Book Bans candidate pledge is released against the backdrop of a sharp rise in book bans. In 2021, The American Library Association (ALA) recorded 1,597 individual book challenges or removals — the most attempts to ban books since ALA began tracking more than 20 years ago. Recently, ALA released preliminary data showing attempts to remove books in 2022 censorship in 2022 are on track to far exceed the record number of challenges in 2021. 

In response to the surge in book challenges and other efforts to suppress access to information, the ALA launched Unite Against Book Bans, a national initiative focused on empowering readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship. The candidate pledge (below) is the latest in a suite of resources the Unite Against Book Bans campaign has created for advocates in the run-up to midterm elections on November 8, 2022. Other tools include a candidate questionnaire for advocates to present to candidates to gauge their level of commitment to the freedom to read. In addition, advocates can check their voting status, register to vote and find out what’s on their local ballots.

Candidate Pledge to Support the Freedom to Read and Oppose Book Bans 

I, [printed name], commit myself to supporting the freedom to read in my duties as [office/position candidate is seeking].

I trust individuals to make their own decisions about what they read. I also believe parents have the right to direct their own child's reading without dictating what books other people's children are allowed to read. I denounce the banning of books in schools and libraries.

If elected, I will commit myself to defending every person’s fundamental, Constitutionally-protected access to reading materials. I also pledge to support school librarians and teachers across  [jurisdiction] who provide access to a variety of books, which are vital to a well-rounded education and are crucial developmental tools for literacy, lifelong learning, and civic participation.