ABFE Seeks Social Media Support for Banned Books Week

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Banned Book Week logoAmerican Booksellers for Free Expression is urging bookstores to join the growing social media campaign supporting Banned Books Week, which begins September 25.

Bookstores have played a central role in the annual celebration of the freedom to read since the annual Banned Books Week campaign launched in 1982. Displays of banned and challenged books remain the heart of the event, continually surprising customers with the wide range of titles that are targeted. ABFE distributed 500 promotional kits in recent weeks to help booksellers build their displays.

But with the growth of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, Banned Books Week has also expanded on the Internet. ABFE and the event’s other sponsors encouraged this expansion in 2010 by creating a virtual readout of censored titles on YouTube. More than 600 videos were recorded the first year, and it remains an important feature of this year’s celebration.

This year, Banned Book Week sponsors are using a new social media service to broadcast their message to millions of Internet users. Thunderclap is a “crowdspeaking” platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. On September 26, the second day of Banned Books Week, Thunderclap will send a message at 9:00 a.m., Eastern Time, urging support for the freedom to read to a social network consisting of more than 1.3 million Facebook and Twitter users. The goal is get users to share the message with their friends.

The Thunderclap network is created by supporters who register on its website, giving it permission to use their Facebook and Twitter contacts for the purpose of sending a single message on a predetermined day. At least 500 supporters have to register before a message will be sent. More than 680 supporters are already supporting the Banned Books Week message, and the number will continue to grow until the message is sent.

ABFE is encouraging booksellers to support the Thunderclap initiative by registering as a supporter and urging their customers to do the same by sending this message: “Join the BannedBooksWeek thunderclap and let’s make some noise on Sept. 26! thndr.me/9Mblvv via @OIF.”

Here are some additional ways that booksellers can use social media to support Banned Books Week:

  • LIST the store’s Banned Books Week display or event in the calendar on the official Banned Books Week website. Use this link to complete an online form: bannedbooksweek.org/node/add/event
  • SHARE photos of the display on social media using the official Banned Books Week hashtag: #BannedBooksWeek