Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Week - What you can do!

If you want to mark Banned Books Week in your school or community and need some event ideas, here are a few from the Banned Books Week website. 

● ‘Make your own banned book’ activity: Local libraries, schools and bookstores could provide both the crafts and space for a day/weekend in order for local community members, including children and youth to create their own ‘banned books’; libraries, schools and booksellers could offer prizes for participation.

Ask customers and community members to sign a support poster provided by ABFFE; display the poster throughout the year to encourage dialogue and interest in banned books and wider free speech issues.

  Capture individuals exercising their right to read banned books on film: Create a Polaroid picture wall of students, patrons and customers who read banned books at your local school, library or bookstore; ask patrons to write their thoughts and feelings about banned books on the white part of the Polaroid.

Display list of banned books at register; start with the Kids' Right to Read Project Report and build from there as interest grows.

Organize a discussion forum on book banning—particularly if there are any local cases of book bans or challenges; focus on local youth using a Harry Potter or Twilight-themed discussion for instance starting with questions like why do you think this book was banned? Why do people ban books? Why do you like this book?

Hold a Banned Books Week Essay Contest; send the winning essay to info[at] for potential publication on

● I
nclude a Banned Books Week feature in your organization's newsletter or on your blog; advertising on a Banned Books Week theme

Organize contests to win 'freadom' buttons or bracelets; Check out 'banned book trivia' here.

Write to your local paper; draft op-eds and letters to the editor.

Screen related movies including ‘Jailed for Their Words’ and others.

Invite authors of banned books for signings and Q&A at your local library or bookstore.

Draw a picture of the one book you would save if books were being burned; display the pictures on a wall in the children’s section throughout the year

Collaborate with local booksellers and librarians for larger events

Keep a Banned Books Week journal; write your comments and thoughts on Banned Books Week activities

Fight Censorship in Your Community
Report a book challenge:

Contact The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE).
* Contact 
The American Library Association (ALA).
* Use the 
Book Censorship Toolkit, which includes tips for responding to challenges from the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Read About Book Banning
Read about recent book challenges:

* The Kids' Right to Read Project (KRRP), a collaboration of ABFFE and the NCAC, responds to book challenges and bans in schools and libraries.
                    * KRRP has confronted challenges to over 
250 titles in 28 states.
* The American Library Association provides lists of 
the most frequently challenged books.
ABFFE's Banned Books Week Handbook contains lists of frequently challenged titles.

Other articles of interest:
*Celebrate BBW with Ellen Hopkins and Simon & Schuster
here to download a Simon & Schuster poster featuring Ellen Hopkins' "Manifesto"
here to read KRRP's interview with Ellen Hopkins
* Check out GOOD Magazine's 
interactive display of 2009's most targeted books, complete with color-coded arrows indicating the reasons cited for book's censorship. 

Visit Web sites of pro-censorship groups

PABBIS: Parents Against Bad Books in Schools
ClassKS: Citizens for Literary Standards in Schools
Citizens for Academic Responsibility

Additional Resources
* The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, Banned Books Week Resources.
    * The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, 
Library Bill of Rights.
    * The National Coalition Against Censorship, 
"The First Amendment in Schools: Resource Guide"
    * The National Council of Teachers of English,
 "The Student's Right to Read."
    * PEN American Center, 
Freedom to Write.

 Wear a Free Speech Bracelet, Button, or T-Shirt
 * Purchase Freadom products from ABFFE
Purchase Banned Books Week products from the American Library Association.
ABFFE has designed an attractive donation box for Banned Books Week that will make this easy. The compact boxes, which are 6" long by 4" wide by 3" deep, use very little counter space and provide    another way for booksellers to demonstrate their commitment to free speech. To order the free donation boxes from ABFFE,

1 comment:

SafeLibraries said...

Thank you for mentioning me, but I oppose censorship.

If you want to read a banned book, read the last book banned in the USA, namely, Fanny Hill, last banned in 1963.

No books have been banned in the USA for about a half a century. See "National Hogwash Week."

Thomas Sowell says Banned Books Week is “the kind of shameless propaganda that has become commonplace in false charges of ‘censorship’ or ‘book banning’ has apparently now been institutionalized with a week of its own.” He calls it “National Hogwash Week.”

Former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West said, "It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much — the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all." See "Banned Books Week is Next Week."

And then there's Judith Krug herself who created BBW:

"Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week," by Judith Krug, Curriculum Review, 46:1, Sep. 2006. "On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there."

Lastly, remember the ALA does not oppose book burning when doing so would interfere with its political interests. Go see what Judith Krug said about Cuban librarians: "American Library Association Shamed," by Nat Hentoff.