Banned Books Week FAQs

BBW: What You Need to Know

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Banned Books Week. ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom

When is Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is an annual event that is designed to bring attention to the threat of book censorship and celebrate the freedom to read. The six-day event starts the last week in September. Banned Books Week will be held Monday through Saturday, September 26 - October 1, 2016; September 25 - 30, 2017; September 24 - 29, 2018; September 23 - 28, 2019 and September 28 - October 3, 2020.

When and why was Banned Books Week established?

In 1982, Banned Books Week (BBW) was started as a response to the jump in book challenges taking place in schools, libraries and bookstores.  (Source: About Banned Books Week) For the many libraries that observe Banned Books Week, it's a chance to educate the public about their freedom to read and the challenges to that freedom when someone wants a book completely removed from library shelves or limited access to it.

In 2016, Banned Books Week will focus on diversity and the reasons so many diverse books are challenged.  (Source: Official Banned Books Week website)

Special Virtual Read-Out videos

On the Banned Books Week YouTube Channel, you find videos about frequently challenged books in the last year, videos of authors discussing book banning and videos of individuals reading from books that have been challenged or banned. The readings and discussion include a variety of books, including The Giver, Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Lord of the Flies.

There are also more than 20 Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out Celebrity Videos, featuring authors of books for kids and/or teens, including a number of authors whose books have been challenged, including Judy Blume, Ellen Hopkins and Chris Crutcher. Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, read from a favorite challenged book The Outsiders.

Ellen Hopkins, author of , , Perfect and other young adult books, stressed the importance of not judging her books before reading them all the way through and the importance of discussing them with your kids.

What does the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution say?

The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Where can I obtain more information?

See All About Book Banning and Children's Books for a complete directory of all of my articles about the subject. You'll learn about what a challenge is, who challenges books, the status of book burning as a form of censorship, the latest list of frequently challenged books in the 21st century, and other resources.

Who sponsors Banned Books Week?

The following organizations are sponsors of Banned Books Week 2016: the  American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; the Freedom to Read Foundation; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; National Association of College Stores; People for the American Way; PEN American Center and and Project Censored.

In addition, while not a sponsor, the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress endorses Banned Books Week.

(Source: American Library Association: Banned Books Week)

How Can You and Your Family Celebrate Banned Books Week?

Celebrate the freedom to read by going to the library and choosing books you'd like to read. Educate yourselves about about challenges, book banning and censorship. Read books that have been banned. Watch the videos on the Banned Books Week You Tube Channel.

Get involved. Read How to Save a Book from Banning by Esther Lombardi, Classic Literature Expert. If you have questions or concerns, talk to the librarians at your school library and/or public library.