Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, will be held the week of September 24th in 2017. For this year’s celebration, the coalition of organizations that sponsors Banned Books Week will emphasize the importance of the First Amendment, which guarantees our inherent right to read.
Censorship is happening and it is infringing on the right of readers.
According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) – which tracks reports of book challenges and bans and compiles an annual Top Ten Challenged Books List – there was an alarming 17% increase in book censorship complaints in 2016. Since most challenges are not reported, the actual number is probably much higher. Even more disturbing, while only 10% of the titles reported to OIF are normally removed from the institutions receiving the challenges, half of the most frequently challenged books were actually banned last year.
The Banned Books Week Coalition (BBWC) is responding with “Our Right To Read,” a celebration of the diverse range of ideas found in books, and our right as citizens to make our own intellectual choices.
BBWC Chair Charles Brownstein says, “Our free society depends on the right to access, evaluate, and voice a wide range of ideas. Book bans chill that right, and increase division in the communities where they occur. This Banned Books Week, we’re asking people of all political persuasions to come together and celebrate Our Right to Read.”
The BBWC will invite communities to talk through their differences by engaging with the books some might try to ban, and in coming together to discuss why a certain book may be troubling to some, perhaps we can learn more about one another and forge common bonds within our communities.
The Banned Books Week Coalition is an alliance of organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.
Sponsors include: American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; American Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People for the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.