Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Banned Books Week: Banned Books Week

The books featured during Banned Books Guide have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools.

Banned Books Week (September 26 - October 2, 2021)

Banned Books Week (September 26- October 2, 2021) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unpopular.

Censorship by the Numbers Infographic

What is the difference between a challenge or banning?

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.  Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

Censorship

History

Banned Books Week was launched in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges, organized protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.

Banned books were showcased at the 1982 American Booksellers Association (ABA) Book Expo America trade show in Anaheim, California. Institutions and stores hosted read-outs, and window displays morphed into literary graveyards or mysterious collections of brown-bagged books. 

Today, Banned Books Week coverage by mainstream media reaches an estimated 2.8 billion readers, and more than 90,000 publishing industry and library subscribers. 

Source: American Libraries Magazine 50 Years of Intellectual Freedom

Banned Books - Classics

Banned Books

Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook

Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook is a free publication from the Banned Books Week Coalition that can be used to guide your celebration of the right to read during Banned Books Week or any time of year! It includes programming ideas, best practices for events, resources, and tips for handling censorship. Read it here.