Librarians Share Their Plans for Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week (BBW) starts on Sunday. While some school librarians are avoiding the week-long event because of censorship attempts and community controversy, others will engage students in BBW activities and conversations.


SLJ asked librarians what they are doing for Banned Books Week this year. Once again, responses showed that censorship attempts across the country are affecting day-to-day activities and programs in school libraries. While some respondents plan to recognize the week, others are choosing not to invite criticism or controversy. Here are just some of those responses:

  • “I will probably display them in the library but not have a sign stating what they are. I won’t decorate the display case in the hallway for it or put anything on social media about it either. I work at a high school in the conservative part of a suburban town, and I’m trying to fly under the radar.”
  • “We chose not to do a Banned Books Week display last year due to book challenges that were ramping up at the same time. Given the climate in our community, we’re choosing not to promote Banned Books Week this year either.”
  • “I’m hesitant to draw attention to books in our library that might spark controversy. I want to protect the future readers of those books and the books themselves from censorship. In my state, if a book gets banned in my district, it will now be banned statewide.”

For those who are creating programming around the week, here is what some will be doing:

  • “Display, contest, morning announcements. In the past, morning announcements f­eatured a frequently challenged book and explained why it was challenged in some communities. Principal won’t permit the explanations, so announcements will simply state that the title is not permitted in some communities and encourage students to come to the library to learn more.”
  • “I think I might plan a few more activities. Maybe a dress-up day? I mostly want to ­continue to teach my elementary kids about banned books in an accessible way that they can understand. Plus, they had so much fun last year.”
  • “I will create a display and see all of my middle school students for lessons on ­censorship and their rights as readers. I admit to being more nervous about it this year, but I also think it is more important than ever.


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