Happy National Library Week, opens a new window, a week to celebrate all things libraries. Today, Monday April 24, 2023 is Right to Read Day, opens a new window: a celebration to fight back against censorship in a national day of action to defend, protect, and celebrate your right to read freely. Marking the one-year anniversary of the Unite Against Book Bans campaign, Right to Read Day recognizes the record number of attempted book bans, growing from 729 in 2021 to 1,269 in 2022.
Perhaps most disheartening about this rise in censorship is the large number of attempted book bans solely objecting to LGBTQIA++ content or books featuring protagonists of color, and nonfiction books detailing civil rights and history of racism in the United States, per Pen America', opens a new windows newly released report, "Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools, opens a new window". When we attempt to whitewash history and remove diverse representations from our shelves, we do real harm to readers who don't get to see their experience and history represented on the page - and diminish the richness of reading options available to all.
One of the best ways to resist censorship is to find and check out a banned book. Since censorship is often an effort to suppress ideas or stories that subvert common narratives, banned book lists are often a great place to find a terrific - and sometimes life-changing - read.
"Every burned book enlightens the world." ― Ralph Waldo Emerson These were the most banned books in the first half of 2022-2023 school year (per Pen America's Index of School Book Bans)
Want more ways to get involved?
- Unite Against Book Bans, opens a new window has five key actions you can take to protect the right to read.
- Hot off the presses, read ALA's new State of America's Libraries report, opens a new window.
- Check out Pen America's report: "Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools, opens a new window" and a plethora of resources, opens a new window for protecting freedom of expression.
- Follow Book Riot's regular censorship news, opens a new window.