Banned Books Week: ‘Let Freedom Read!’ Oct. 1-7, 2023

AFT New Mexico President Whitney Holland. Courtesy/AFT NM

Whitney Holland
AFT New Mexico

Every year, groups who support access to reading designate an entire week of advocacy, information, and education around Banned Books. Launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries, Banned Books Week highlights the value of free and open access to information and brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, educators and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas.

The American Library Association has announced the theme for Banned Books Week 2023: “Let Freedom Read!” Banned Books Week will take place Oct. 1-7, 2023.

“As we’ve seen throughout National Library Week, as long as there are libraries, Americans’ right to read will not be overcome by censorship,” said President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada of the American Library Association. “Our 2023 Banned Books Week theme – ‘Let Freedom Read’ – captures what’s at stake for our democracy: that the safety of our right to speak and think freely is directly in proportion to our right to read. ALA encourages libraries in every context to mark Banned Books Week by inviting other groups within their communities to celebrate and take action to protect our freedom to read all year long.”

This year’s celebration is slated for the first week in October, and our union is planning a week of resources, social media, and information for educators at all levels to incorporate Banned Books Week themes into their educational plans. Our week of celebrating Banned Books will be capped by the announcement of winners of our 1st Banned Books Week contest.

With just under two weeks until the start of Banned Books Week, there is still time to think about how you want to highlight the reading of Banned Books in your classroom, school library, or lecture hall.

If you choose to participate in celebrating Banned Books Week, we encourage you to enter our Banned Books Week contest! The contest will be launched Oct. 1 to coincide with the beginning of Banned Books Week and will be open to any AFT NM member to submit their entry.

Be creative and think outside the box! Entries could be a lesson plan, library display, or other educational activity that ties into the week and its mission. The best submissions will receive gift cards that can be used to purchase books, resources, and materials on First Book Marketplace. Full information and how to enter will be sent Oct. 1. (Winners will be announced at the conclusion of Banned Books Week.)

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