Are You Ready for Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week 2015 poster

Banned Books Week 2015 poster

How will your library celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week (BBW) September 27-October 3, 2015? Sponsored by 13 organizations, Banned Books Week has been observed annually since 1982. That’s 33 years of fighting censorship! According to American Library Association statistics, approximately 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 (ABFE). A March 2015 Harris poll reported that of the over 2,200 adults surveyed, many want to protect children from books with controversial topics, explicit language, sex, drugs, alcohol and vampires (Peet).

This year Banned Books Week will focus on young adult books which are often targets of censors. The 2014 Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books includes YA books such as:

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  • Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

There are many resources available to help you prepare for Banned Books Week including:

What else can you do? Kristin Pekoll, assistant director for the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, has advice for school librarian, “I understand that not every school librarian is in a climate where the feel comfortable putting up a Banned Books Week display, but there are plenty of opportunities to initiate dialogue with teachers, students, administrators, and school board members about the First Amendment and censorship” (Kristin Pekoll, email message to author, August 18, 2015).

The list of resources is a starting point to get your creative thoughts going. If you have other Banned Books Week resources or ideas to share, post them as a comment to this blog.


American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFE). “Banned Books Week.”

Peet, Lisa. (2015) “Harris Poll Shows Growing Support for Book Banning, Ratings.” Library Journal, July 31, 2015.

Image Source:

Banned Book Week 2015 artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.


Author: Helen Adams

A former school librarian in Wisconsin, Helen Adams is an online senior lecturer for Antioch University-Seattle in the areas of intellectual freedom, privacy, library ethics, and copyright. A member of the AASL Knowledge Quest Advisory Board, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, and a KQ blogger, she is the author of Protecting Intellectual Freedom and Privacy in Your School Library (Libraries Unlimited, 2013) and contributor to The Many Faces of School Library Leadership (2nd edition, Libraries Unlimited, 2017). Email:

Categories: Blog Topics, Intellectual Freedom

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1 reply


    There’s a great question and answer resource on how school librarians can initiate conversations before Banned Books Week.
    Or check out OIF recorded webinars.

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