Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information. 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.
While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
To view books that have been challenged and why, go to ALA's Frequently challenged books of the 21st century.
All information courtesy of American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom Banned Books Website
"Banned Books Week is more pertinent than ever, given the number of recent challenges to books on school reading lists and in school libraries. In this episode, Jeannette Davies of the San Antonio Public Library interviews Dr. Mark Bayer, chair of the English department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Carrie Damon, Northside ISD middle school librarian, about the history of banned books and why ensuring the freedom to read is so vital. From Ulysses to The Hate U Give, often the books that are the most meaningful are the ones that draw the most ire."
On May 12, 2022, San Antonio's City Council adopted a resolution supporting the freedom to read and access information in public libraries. View a scan of the official resolution above, or read the full text below.
A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE FREEDOM TO READ AND TO ACCESS INFORMATION IN PUBLIC LIBRARIES.
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Whereas, the San Antonio Public Library’s mission is to enrich and change lives through the transformative power of information, imagination, and ideas, by making available a curated collection of books and library resources; and
Whereas, public library collections and the freedom to access information are essential to the preservation of a free society; and
Whereas, professional librarians receive extensive education and ongoing training to qualify them to develop collections which meet the broad and varied interests and needs of their communities and to represent a diversity of perspectives; and
Whereas, decisions on items being added to the Library’s collection are made without regard to personal likes, dislikes, or beliefs and the collection of books and materials of the Library must represent different viewpoints; and
Whereas, the freedom to choose what one reads is essential to our democracy; and
Whereas, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution provides all individuals the right to express their ideas; and
Whereas, the San Antonio Public Library will respond to expressed concerns regarding materials that may be found in the Library’s collection through its “Request for Reconsideration” process; NOW THEREFORE
Be it resolved by the City Council of the City of San Antonio:
Section 1: That this City Council embraces the belief that individuals have the right to free inquiry and the equally important right to form their own opinions.
Section 2: That this City Council believes it is necessary to maintain and safeguard free and unrestricted access to information, ideas and library collections.
Section 3: That this City Council will support the San Antonio Public Library in its efforts to oppose those who may attempt to restrict the freedom to read through banning, removing, or other forms of restricting access to books and other library materials simply because the materials are inconsistent with their viewpoint.
This Resolution is effective upon receipt of eight affirmative votes; otherwise, it is effective ten days after passage.
PASSED and APPROVED on the 12th day of May, 2022.