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Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week is the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The event is sponsored by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression.

 This Library Celebrates Bannd Books Week October 1-7,2023

Censorship and the Freedom to Read


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

-First Amendment to the United States Constitution, 1791


Books may be challenged by people with good intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. They may also contain what the challenger deems “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. Every year, the ALA compiles a list of the most challenged books. The top three reasons that books were challenged, according to the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. The material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
  2. The material contained "offensive language"
  3. The materials was "unsuited to any age group"


The Oxford English dictionary defines censorship as "the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered  obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security."

The ALA states, "In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom ALA documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. Of the record 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, most were by or about LGBTQIA+ persons and Black, Indigenous, and people of color."