Since we’re all about the Constitution this campaign season, it seems timely to take note of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment is the foundation that informs Banned Books Week 2016 – and that underscores this year’s observation. For more than thirty years Banned Books week has waved the Banned Books Week banner with a bold, noisy, in-your-face celebration of the Constitutional right to speak and be heard, to write and be read.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Each of the books featured during BBW has been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools.
Though books have been and continue to be banned, one message of Banned Books Week is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This fact reflects the efforts of librarians, writers, booksellers, journalists, teachers, students, parents and community members who have exercised the freedom to read.
As in the past, resources – informational and promotional – abound. Truth to tell, there is just so much good stuff that it’s impossible to post all the links and all the treasures. Still, some useful starting points:
- Banned Books Week 2016 basic information http://www.bannedboksweek.org/about
- Frequently challenged books http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks
- National Council of Teachers English-Position statement, guidelines http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/righttoreadguideline
- School Library Journal BBW resources — http://www.slj.com/resources/sljs-resources-on-banned-books-and-censorship/ – –Targeted resources —http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/resources
- Most challenged classics – http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics
- Banned Books Week Read Out – background, bookstore ideas http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/virtualreadout
- 2016 Banned Book Virtual Read-Out Videos – a growing library of banned books readings: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4i_y3Ikm0TIBC4fnhgUeUjjg4q0dXHBz – also
- Promotional tools, logos and more: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/promotional-tools
- BBW on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek
- BBW on Twitter — #bannedbooksweek
For an example of a robust agenda of BBW activities check out the plans created through the collaborative efforts of the St Paul Public Library and Metropolitan State University — http://sppl.org/banned
Creative ideas and promotional materials for Banned Books Week 2016 abound! These links will simply open doors – behind those doors you’ll find posters, graphics, lists, tip sheets and tons of other materials that can be duplicated and posted as appropriate in your classroom, library, bookstore, coffee house, community gathering site or digital network.
The point is to value the right to read, to tap the resources, and to collaborate so that we work as a community, as members of concerned professions and as a democratic society to capitalize on the potential of Banned Books Week to serve as a “teachable moment.”