Did you know that every year hundreds of books are challenged across America? Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign that reminds the literary community of the importance of speaking out against book banning and supporting our freedom to read. This year Banned Books Week takes place between September 23 and 29. To help you get involved, we’ve put together a list of seven ways to celebrate Banned Books Week.
Speak out against censorship
Books are challenged all of the time, and your voice can help stop them from being banned. Check to see if your community is discussing banning a book and find out what you can do to stop it, whether it’s writing a letter, making a call, or attending a meeting. According to the American Library Association, in 2016 only 10% of challenged books were removed from communal shelves and that’s because readers like you stepped up.
Promote silenced stories
This year’s Banned Books Week theme is “Banning Books Silences Stories.” Use your voice to keep stories from being silenced by recommending books to friends, sharing books on social media, and requesting titles at your local library.
Visit your local library
Every September, libraries around the country put together incredibly creative banned book displays. Take a trip over to check out what your library is doing to celebrate. You can attend events, support your library, and even check out a book while you’re there!
Celebrate the right to read by making a book donation to a local organization, such as a school, homeless shelter, prison, or hospital. This is an excellent way to support your community and to share your favorite books with other readers. Just make sure to look into their donation policy first!
Put together a banned books party
Gather up your favorite readers and spend a night celebrating in style. Guests can come dressed as their favorite character from a banned book. Play a round of trivia with redacted parts of famous quotes from banned books. Set up a letter writing station where guests can write to community leaders speaking out against banning books.
Buy a banned book from your local indie bookstore
Reading is our favorite way to celebrate any occasion! We’d recommend hitting up your closest bookstore and picking up both an old favorite that’s been banned and one that you haven’t read yet.
Treat yourself to banned book merch
From shirts to mugs to pins to totes, banned books-themed swag is both stylish and popular. Give yourself a gift that will remind you to fight against banning books all year long.