Please note: All Monroe County Public Library branches will re-open on Friday, Sept. 30.

Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us. Keys Libraries Take Part In Banned Books Week

Banned books display at the Monroe County Public Library Marathon branch.

Sept. 18-24 is Banned Books Week, when librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and others celebrate the freedom to read.

The American Library Association reports it 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, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The 2021 totals were the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA started compiling this information more than 20 years ago. And this year is on track to be even higher. Between January and August of this year, ALA has documented 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources, and 1,651 unique titles were targeted.

“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of that office. “Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs.”

Monroe County’s library branches have created displays featuring books that have been banned or challenged. Stop by your local branch and check them out and celebrate YOUR freedom to read.

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