Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and focuses attention on the censorship of books in schools and libraries. The event started in 1982 and takes place every last week of September.

Molly Raphael, President of the American Library Association has this to say about the event:

“Contrary to commentary writer Jonah Goldberg‘s assertion, librarians and library users celebrate Banned Books Week as a testament to the strength of our freedom in the United States. We celebrate the freedom to read because we all know that we are so fortunate to live in a country that protects our freedom to choose what we want to read. If you doubt this, just ask anyone from a totalitarian society. That is why we draw attention to acts of censorship that chill the freedom to read.”

Readers from across the United States and around the world are  demonstrating their support for free speech by participating in a virtual read-out of banned and challenged books that will culminate during the 30th annual Banned Books Week (Sept. 24-Oct. 1).  Individuals, libraries and bookstores are uploading videos to a special channel on YouTube, submitting either a reading of up to two minutes or a description of a local book challenge of up to three minutes.

The virtual read-out is the centerpiece of an expanded Banned Books Week, which focuses attention on the censorship of books in schools and libraries.  The American Library Association reported 348 challenges and bans in 2010.  The most challenged book was “And Tango Makes Three,” an award-winning children’s picture book, based on an actual incident, that tells the story of two male penguins who hatch an abandoned egg and parent the chick.  The book has been on the list of most frequently challenged books for five years. Other titles frequently challenged last year include Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,”  Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and books in Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series.  ALA publishes a Top Ten Banned Books list annually.

Check the Banned Books Week YouTube Channel for new videos.

 

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, too.