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Banned Books: Banned Books

Banned Book Week

American Libraries Association Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers — in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

To continue to raise awareness about the harms of censorship and the freedom to read, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) publishes an annual list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books, using information from public challenges reported in the media, as well as censorship reports submitted to the office through its challenge reporting form.

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

The books featured during Banned Books Week and National Library Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. But out of the hundreds of challenges ALA records every year, only about 10% of books are removed from the location where the challenge took place, thanks to local literary champions such as librarians, students, and patrons who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

OIF also offers support for librarians facing challenges to materials in their library. The support librarians seek will not be disclosed to any outside parties, and the challenge report OIF receives is kept confidential. Please see Challenges to Library Materials for resources and information to help you prepare for and respond to challenges.

If you would like more information about banned and challenged books, contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4220, or oif@ala.org. For more information on how to get involved with Banned Books Week, email bbw@ala.org.

For media inquiries related to Banned Books Week, please contact: Heather Cho, Media Relations Specialist, 312-280-4020, hcho@ala.org; and Macey Morales, Deputy Director of ALA's Public Awareness Office, 312-280-4393, mmorales@ala.org.

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