Banned Books Week, held Sept. 18-24, 2022, celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. Boards of Trustees, Friends of the Library groups, and library Foundations can get involved by spreading the word and speaking out for the freedom to read in their communities. George M. Johnson is Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week 2022. The critically acclaimed — and frequently banned — author will lead the weeklong event, which brings awareness to the harms of censorship. Download free graphics, social media posts, and more at www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/freedownloads.
For 40 years, Banned Books Week has brought 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 unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.
In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.
The theme for Banned Books Week 2022 is "Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us." Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers. Banned Books Week is both a reminder of the unifying power of stories and the divisiveness of censorship, and a call to action for readers across the country to push back against censorship attempts in their communities.