American Library Association Highlights Increasing Censorship Attempts During Banned Books Week Programming

American Library Association, Unite Against Book Bans and the Banned Books Week Coalition Announce Events for September 18-24

CHICAGO--()--Libraries nationwide will join the American Library Association to highlight increased censorship of books during this year’s Banned Books Week, taking place September 18-24, 2022. The American Library Association (ALA), Unite Against Banned Books (UABB) and the Banned Books Week Coalition are planning extensive programming during the week, bringing together authors, librarians and scholars to share perspectives on censorship.

Thousands of schools, bookstores and libraries throughout the country will be sponsoring local events during the 40th Banned Books Week with a special focus on the recent sharp rise in book bans. In 2021, ALA recorded 1,597 individual book challenges or removals — the most attempts to ban books since ALA began tracking more than 20 years ago. The theme of the 2022 Banned Books Week is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

The Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories mean to them, raising awareness of censorship and supporting the power of words and those who write them

Readers can enter the Unite Against Book Ban #ASKingAboutBans Banned Books Week giveaway, to win a signed copy of A.S. King’s Attack of the Black Rectangles by recording a brief video sharing how they’ve experienced censorship or spoken out to oppose it.

Monday, September 19

Free Expression for Young People, 1pm ET

Authors who have written about or defended intellectual freedom will examine censorship of books for young people and discuss young people’s freedom to read:

  • Jarrett Dapier, librarian and author of the upcoming release Wake Now In The Fire
  • Ryan Estrada, co-author of graphic novel Banned Book Club
  • Varian Johnson, author of Playing the Cards You’re Dealt and The Parker Inheritance
  • Donalyn Miller, award winning educator and reading advocate

Tuesday, September 20, National Voter Registration Day:

With the freedom to read on the ballot this November, #UniteAgainstBookBans is urging voters to register, know who and what is on their ballot and find out where candidates stand. Resources about voter registration and engaging with candidates on the freedom to read are available at

A Conversation With Author Jennifer Niven, 6pm ET

New York Times-bestselling author Jennifer Niven discusses the implications of censorship for teens and their communities whenbook bans happen. Many of Niven’s books have been targeted for removal and censorship in multiple locations.

Wednesday, September 21

Breaking Bans: A Celebration of Challenged Books, 2pm ET

Authors and historians who have experienced first-hand censorship of their works will share their experience with censorship, how their books have changed the lives of individual readers in schools and libraries, and how librarians and communities can fight back. Dr. Emily Knox, editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy and author of Foundations of Intellectual Freedom (ALA Neal-Schuman), will moderate the conversation.

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of The 1619 Project
  • Renée Watson, author of The 1619 Project: Born On The Water
  • Kim Johnson, author of This Is My America
  • Kyle Lukoff, author of Different Kind of Fruit

How to Fight Book Bans in Your Community, 2:30pm ET

Experienced activists who have been defending the right to read in their communities talk about community organizing and how you can fight book bans in your community.

  • Cameron Samuels, Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair, student activist from Katy, Texas
  • Jen Cousins and Stephana Ferrell, co-founders of the Florida Freedom to Read Project
  • Carolyn Foote, co-founder of Freedom Fighters

Thursday, September 22

What’s the Role of the Higher Ed Community in Supporting Intellectual Freedom?, 11am ET

ALA and SAGE Publishing bring together intellectual freedom experts to explore bans and restrictions on the rise and the role members of the academic community can (and should) play as censorship increasingly becomes institutionalized:

  • Aaisha Haykal, College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
  • Emily Knox, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy
  • John Burgess, University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies
  • Shannon Oltmann, University of Kentucky

Practical Strategies for Defending Books in Your Library, 1pm ET

Drawing on ripped-from-the-headlines censorship challenges, four experienced library workers will provide practical strategies and resources that library workers can use to defend challenged materials:

  • Moni Barrette, President, ALA Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table
  • Jamie Gregory, Upper School Librarian, Christ Church Episcopal School
  • Val Nye, Library Director, Santa Fe Community College
  • Jack Phoenix, Manager of Collection Development and Technical Services at Cuyahoga Falls Library and Brodart’s Graphic Novel Selector

Freedom to Read: Fighting Book Banning and Censorship in Our Libraries, 7pm ET

Hartford (Conn.) Public Library and the Mark Twain House & Museum will host a discussion of book banning trends since the 1885 publication of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was immediately banned from some public libraries when released to the public.

  • Deborah Caldwell-Stone, executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation and ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom,
  • Bridget Quinn, Hartford Public Library CEO

Intellectual Freedom & You: A Banned Books Week webinar for library supporters, 7pm ET

Memorial Hall, Tewksbury and other libraries in Massachusetts will host a webinar on how library users can effectively support libraries, library workers, and free expression, featuring Martin Garnar, director of the Amherst College Library and editor of the Intellectual Freedom Manual. Tenth Edition (ALA Editions).

A public list of local Banned Books Week events nationwide is available on

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. Visit for more information.

About Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. It highlights the value of free and open access to information and 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 express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.


Dani Leopold
Glen Echo Group


Dani Leopold
Glen Echo Group