Books Unite Us
by Darcy Acord, CCPLS Youth Services Librarian
Every year, libraries across the United States commemorate Banned Books week in September; the dates this year are September 18-24. The event focuses on raising awareness about efforts to challenge or ban books in school and public libraries, and is really a celebration of the freedom to read. The freedom to read and publish is considered part of free speech, protected, along with freedom of religion, by the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. Libraries recognize the importance of each individual’s First Amendment rights.
CCPLS is offering several ways to commemorate Banned Books Week here at your libraries. Join us for some of our events, or find your own way to celebrate intellectual freedom! Here are some ways to participate:
- Read a banned book! In 2021, 729 challenges to library materials in school, academic, and public libraries were registered. Lists of frequently challenged books are available online; your librarian can help you locate these. Most likely you’ll be surprised to find some of your favorite books have been challenged over the years!
- As you read or discuss banned books, consider who might appreciate finding that material on a library shelf. For whom is that material important? Alternatively, consider frequently banned books that have been important to you; why did you connect with those books? Share your thoughts with a friend or family member and discuss the idea that every book has its reader.
- Wear a graphic t-shirt that displays a banned book character, or supports banned books and libraries.
- Participate in Wright Branch Library’s READsquared Banned Books Reading Challenge or the Harry Potter Read for Your House Reading Challenge for 4th grade and up at your libraries in Wright and Gillette. While you don’t have to read a Harry Potter title to participate, it’s worth knowing that the series is one of the most frequently challenged in the United States. Sign up for both challenges on READsquared .
- Come to the library to check out the various Banned Books Week displays throughout the building.
- Learn about intellectual freedom and First Amendment rights. A good source is the National Constitution Center.
- Write a letter to an author whose books have been banned. Tell them how their work has affected you.
- Learn about why moving books to out-of-sight areas of a library is considered censorship. Find one explanation of this concept on our Libraries Liberate blog.
- Place a “Love my Library” sign in your yard. These are available for free at the circulation desks at your libraries in Gillette and Wright.
- Participate in the CCPL Edible Banned Books Festival! Individuals or teams are encouraged to creatively display a favorite banned book with food. Look for entry details on our website.
Celebrate Banned Books Week, and YOUR freedom to read!