Banned Books Week 2023: Let Freedom Read!
Banned Books Week is an exciting event happening from October 1-7, 2023. This year’s theme is “Let Freedom Read!” It aims to bring together the entire book community, including librarians, educators, authors, booksellers, and publishers, to raise awareness about the dangers of censorship.
Leading the charge for Banned Books Week is the renowned literary advocate, Reading Rainbow star, and Hollywood actor LeVar Burton, who is serving as the honorary chairman. In a powerful statement, Burton expressed his concern about the removal of books from libraries and schools due to misguided censorship efforts by a small group of people.
“Books are under attack. They’re being removed from libraries and schools. Shelves have been emptied because of a small number of people and their misguided efforts toward censorship,”
Burton emphasized the importance of public advocacy campaigns like Banned Books Week in helping people understand the extent of book censorship and empowering them to fight against it. He feels honored to lead Banned Books Week 2023.
The grand finale of Banned Books Week will be “Let Freedom Read Day” on Saturday, October 7. On this day, activists are encouraged to take action against censorship, as declared by the American Library Association (ALA), one of the founders of Banned Books Week. The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has compiled a list of books that are allegedly being removed or restricted, including titles like Gender Queer, All Boys Aren’t Blue, Lawn Boy, and This Book is Gay, which have faced significant challenges across the country.
While Banned Books Week has faced some controversy, with ALA President Emily Drabinski’s self-declaration as a “Marxist lesbian” causing a stir, the event continues to gain support. Some state libraries have withdrawn from the ALA due to disagreements over prioritizing LGBT and racially divisive themed books for children. However, the momentum remains strong, with Washington, D.C., libraries even creating their own Banned Books Week theme this year, titled “Freedom is Not Guaranteed.”
Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the D.C. Public Library, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that book challenges are on the rise, posing a threat to the existence of free and independent public libraries. The D.C. Public Library sees Banned Books Week as a call to action, particularly in light of the increased attempts to ban books with LGBTQIA+ themes and those that represent communities of color.
As part of Banned Books Week 2023, the Banned Bookmobile Tour will make a stop in Washington, D.C., offering free books and information on banned books. This initiative has garnered support from various organizations, including the New Republic magazine, the American Federation of Teachers, the African American Policy Forum, and bestselling author Nora Roberts.
Banned Books Week is a crucial moment for the literary community to combat bigotry, anti-intellectualism, and cultural desecration. As the Washington Post’s book reporter Ron Charles aptly put it, “Do you smell something burning?” Banned Books Week is the perfect opportunity to re-energize the fight against these threats and champion the freedom to read.
Click here to read more from the Washington Examiner.
How does Banned Books Week aim to raise awareness about censorship and celebrate the freedom to read?
The most frequently challenged books of the year, which will be released on Let Freedom Read Day. This list serves as a reminder of the ongoing battle against censorship and the need to protect the freedom to read.
Banned Books Week has a long history of promoting the freedom of expression and intellectual freedom. It began in 1982, when a surge in book challenges and bans caused concern among the literary community. In response, the American Library Association and several other organizations decided to create an annual event to raise awareness about censorship and celebrate the freedom to read.
Over the years, Banned Books Week has grown into a global movement, with events taking place in libraries, schools, and bookstores worldwide. The week-long celebration includes panel discussions, reading marathons, book displays, and other activities that aim to highlight the value of unrestricted access to diverse ideas and perspectives.
Banned Books Week 2023 aims to shed light on the impact of censorship on marginalized communities. Through various programs and initiatives, the organizers seek to address the disproportionate banning and challenging of books by and about people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other marginalized groups. By amplifying their voices and stories, Banned Books Week hopes to promote inclusivity and fight against systemic discrimination.
The choice of LeVar Burton as the honorary chairman for Banned Books Week 2023 is a testament to his dedication to promoting literacy and his passion for the freedom to read. As the host of Reading Rainbow, a beloved children’s television show that encouraged a love for books, Burton has long been an advocate for literacy and accessibility to literature. His involvement in this event brings visibility and further credibility to the cause.
Banned Books Week serves as a reminder that the freedom to read is not a given and that it requires constant vigilance. While appreciation for literature and the freedom of expression grows, so does the opposition to it. Banning books denies individuals the opportunity to explore different perspectives, challenge their own beliefs, and expand their horizons.
As we look forward to Banned Books Week 2023, we must remember the importance of preserving intellectual freedom and promoting inclusivity. Let us join together to celebrate the power of literature, stand against censorship, and champion the freedom to read. Only through awareness, dialogue, and advocacy can we ensure that literature remains a powerful tool for education, empathy, and understanding. Let freedom read!
" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."