ALA calls for national day of action to protect the freedom to read, designates Right to Read Monday for 2023 National Library Week
For Immediate Release
Deputy Director, Communications
Pubic Policy & Advocacy
Unite Against Book Bans virtual event to honor a lifetime of free expression through story
CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) today announced a national day of action to protect libraries and the freedom to read, designating April 24, the Monday of National Library Week, as Right to Read Day. Right to Read Day also marks the first anniversary of the ALA-founded Unite Against Book Bans campaign, a public-facing advocacy initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.
“Right to Read Day is a national day of action—not just acknowledgement,” said ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada. “ALA calls on readers everywhere to show our commitment to the First Amendment by doing something concrete to preserve it.
“The fight against censorship is too big for one person or library or organization to take on alone. And we don’t have to. That’s why ALA created Unite Against Book Bans: to be a collective voice in defending the right to read.”
Since the movement was launched in April 2022, Unite Against Book Bans has created and curated a set of free advocacy resources and provided direct support to community organizers. Local advocates have used and adapted these resources to fight censorship in communities like Llano County and League City, Texas, and in states like Missouri and Louisiana. ALA and its Unite Against Book Bans partners—individuals, authors, publishers, educators, advocacy groups and library organizations of all stripes—are calling on readers to take action on Right to Read Day and beyond.
Suggested Right to Read Day actions include:
Borrow a library book at risk of being banned.
Write a letter to the editor or to an elected leader.
Attend a meeting of local officials or library or school board.
Stage a public event or peaceful protest in support of libraries.
Join Unite Against Book Bans.
Right to Read Day resources, including social media assets, are available at https://uniteagainstbookbans.org/right-to-read-day/
“Readers who think, ‘this will never happen in our community,’ need to think again. More than half the states have legislation proposed or passed that would take library books off the shelves, punish library workers who dare to make books accessible and silence the voices of LGBTQ, BIPOC and other authors. Speaking up and raising our voices now can stop censorship where it’s happening and prevent censorship where it's just getting started.”
In addition to the call to action, Unite Against Book Bans partners will host Protecting Free Expression and the Right to Read, a virtual conversation with partners from ALA, PEN America and National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) prompted by “Forever Judy Blume,” the new documentary about renowned author and right to read advocate Judy Blume. ALA President Pelayo-Lozada, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel and NCAC Executive Director Christopher Finan will sit down with the documentary’s co-directors to discuss Judy Blume’s trailblazing work and the unprecedented surge of censorship sweeping across the country. Registration is required for the free virtual event, which will take place Monday, April 24, at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
The Monday of National Library Week also includes the release of ALA’s annual State of America’s Libraries report, which includes a list of the top 10 banned books of 2022.
About National Library Week
National Library Week is an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities. Established in 1957, the first National Library Week was based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. The 2023 celebration marks the 65th anniversary of the first event. Read more about activities and observances for National Library Week 2023 in ALA’s press release.