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Banned Books Week 2021: Home

Books Unite Us | Jason Reynolds

Censorship is a Dead End. Find Your Freedom to Read!

Banned Books Week 2021

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual banning of books, as well as challenges (attempted banning) of books across the United States. BBW was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries.

Intellectual freedom - the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them. Not every book is for every person; that's why we believe that book selection should be left up to the individual or family. 

Artwork and text courtesy of the American Library Association

Banned Books Week is brought to you by: the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, Association of American Publishers, American Society of Journalists and Author, and the National Association of College Stores ... and endorsed by: The Library of Congress Center for the Book

Why Are Books Challenged?

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions - to protect others—frequently children—from difficult ideas and information. Censorship can be subtle and almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful.
 

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

On Liberty, John Stuart Mill