Observance of Banned Books Week is important because: 1) hundreds of attempts to remove, hide, or restrict access to books are made every year in these United States, 2) most people are unaware of this problem, and 3) the best defense against censorship is an informed public.
Organizing any event can be time-consuming, but Banned Book Week events are relatively easy to put together. For one thing, I found that there already were a number of observances taking place in my area each year, but most of these were small in scope and little noticed. Just making sure one group knows what another group is doing can increase visibility and participation.
I’m passing all this on in hopes that others will take the initiative to organize similar events in their areas. I’m finding a lot of local support for ideas like:
- A display of banned and challenged books at a local bookstore and/or library.
- Web pages dedicated to banned and challenged books, put up by bookstores and libraries.
- A display and other activities at the English departments of nearby colleges and universities.
- A speech or presentation by an author whose books have been challenged.
- A presentation or panel on Free Speech law by local law students.
- A speech or presentation by a representative of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, or the National Coalition Against Censorship.
I've put together some ideas and suggestions on my website, and have links there to resources available from organizations like the ALA, ABFFE, etc. That info can be found at: