This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs.”
– Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom ALA documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 book challenges reported in 2021.
Between January 1 and August 31, 2023, OIF reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles – a 20% increase from the same reporting period in 2022, which saw the highest number of book challenges since ALA began compiling the data more than 20 years ago. The vast majority of challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
School and public libraries face many more challenges to ban or censor books, but academic libraries face challenges as well. During the annual Banned Books Week, organized by the American Library Association and its Office of Intellectual Freedom, along with partners such as the Association of University Presses and more. You can see a list here: https://bannedbooksweek.org/sponsors/
While Banned Books Week extends from October to October, October 7 has been designated as “Let Freedom Read Day”
On October 7, 2023, the Banned Books Week Coalition is asking everyone to take at least one action to help defend books from censorship and to stand up for the library staff, educators, writers, publishers, and booksellers who make them available! Show us how you’re taking action on social media by using the hashtags #LetFreedomReadDay and #BannedBooksWeek! Find out how at https://bannedbooksweek.org/let-freedom-read-day
Several organizations on campus will be participating in Banned Books Week activities. As you wander around campus, you’ll see yard signs created by several semesters of Honors students who take the Honors 201 course: “Banned. Censored. Challenged.”
INSIDE CUNNINGHAM MEMORIAL LIBRARY, you’ll find:
>>Lobby infographics [from Honors 201 students in the Banned. Censored. Challenged. course] ]
>>Display of library books pulled from Challenged/Banned booklists [these can be checked out and/or used to read aloud on Tuesday, October 3]
>>The main event in the Library Events Area:
Tuesday, October 3, 11am – 3pm: Read a Banned Book Out Loud [Library Events Area]: drop in to listen or read a banned or challenged book. Choose from children’s, young adult, classics, fiction and non-fiction. Bring your own book or take one from the two display tables located outside the Events Area.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES IN THE LIBRARY
October 1 – 7
>>Banned Books Bingo: We won’t be calling letters in this bingo game, but you will still have loads of fun! Pull out your phone or laptop, or work with your friends to answer 5 questions in a row.
• Up and down
Pick up your Bingo card at the Library’s Circulation Desk. When you’re done, bring your completed sheet to the Circulation Desk in the library for your complimentary prize.
>>Year-round, you can check out lots of information on this issue by visiting the library guide, Banned Books Week, available at https://libguides.indstate.edu/BannedBooksWeek
Banned Books Week Signs: look around campus for yard signs highlighting banned or challenged books with infographics created by Honors 201: Banned. Censored. Challenged. Signs created by Cunningham Memorial Library’s Marketing Committee and funded by the Office of Community Engagement
Organize your own Banned Books Week event! Post your activity on social media including the Library’s Facebook and Instagram pages and #bannedbooksweek #freedomtoread #library #libraries #censorship #academicfreedom #isu_honors