Books unite us. Censorship divides us. Founded in 1982, Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and drawing national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. 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.

What are banned or challenged books?

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.

What is intellectual freedom?

According to the American Library Association, intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

The top 10 most challenged books of 2021

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Of the 1597 books that were targeted, here are the top 10 most challenged:

Freedom to read in Saranac Lake

In collaboration with the Saranac Lake Free Library, ACW is building a Banned Books Week window display, featuring artwork from you!

Stop by the Adirondack Center for Writing or the library to pick up a coloring sheet, pick a banned book from the list, and draw your own interpretation of the cover. Drop off your completed coloring sheet to ACW (15 Broadway) by 5PM on September 22nd, and we’ll add it to our front window display to spread awareness about censorship and the power of books.

We will have plenty of coloring sheets and supplies available during ArtWalk, so stop by and create something stunning on September 15th from 5-7:30PM.

You may also download the coloring sheet here and make copies as needed (PDF, print on a regular 8.5×11 sheet of paper).

9 of the top 10 most banned books of 2021 are available to borrow through the Saranac Lake Free Library. We encourage you to check them out and continue to support the freedom to read! See more Banned Books Week resources and events.

ACW is an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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