A small group of parents recently succeeded in banning an anthology of writings by gay youth from the library of a New Jersey high school. Emboldened by the victory, they forced the removal of the book from the local public library as well. Similar incidents occur often in public and school libraries around the country. According to the American Library Association (ALA), last year there were 460 book challenges.
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is urging ABA members to join with hundreds of other bookstores and libraries to publicize these attacks against the freedom to read by participating in Banned Books Week, this year from September 25 – October 2.
"Americans are largely unaware of the battle that rages over books in schools and libraries,” ABFFE President Chris Finan said. “Banned Books Week plays a critical role in mobilizing people to fight censorship.”
ABFFE makes it easy for booksellers to participate in the only national celebration of the freedom to read by providing a web-based Banned Books Week Handbook offering a variety of easily organized displays and events. The Banned Books Week Handbook also features posters that can be downloaded and reproduced at a local copy shop.
For a limited time, ABFFE is also discounting its popular Freadom products. The Freadom T-shirt is available in four colors – black, royal blue, charcoal gray, and forest green – for $12 each ($10 for orders of 12 or more). Imprinting is available for $1 per shirt. There are also Freadom buttons, bumper stickers, and bookmarks. Small Freadom buttons are sold in mixed-color bags of 100 ($25). An order of 100 bookmarks costs just $5. (Download the order form here.)
Additional Banned Books Week promotional material is available through the ALA website.
Booksellers can promote their Banned Books Week activities to the media and the public on the website www.bannedbooksweek.org, created by ABFFE and ALA. In addition to providing general information, the site features a state-by-state list of participating bookstores and libraries. Bookstores and libraries can submit details about their Banned Books Week celebration directly to the site.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by ABFFE, ALA, the Association of American Publishers, and the National Association of College Stores.
Booksellers with questions about Banned Books Week should contact ABFFE's Amy Long at (212) 587-4025, ext. 12 or firstname.lastname@example.org.