Freedom to Read Week

Celebrate your freedom to read with a week of programs, activities, and resources from the library. This week is about appreciating our intellectual freedom and the ways in which books bring people together, allow individuals to see themselves in stories, and help us develop empathy and understanding for people from other backgrounds.  

The library’s celebration is in conjunction with the American Library Association (ALA) annual Banned Books Week, which spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. ALA’s week-long, nationwide event supports free and open access to books and information. You’re invited to share what you read with us in the library or on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Library Events

Virtual City Lit Theater Presents Books on the Chopping Block 

Tuesday, September 28, 7:30 p.m.

Join us for a virtual top 10 countdown of dramatic readings by City Lit Theater Company in honor of Freedom to Read Week. City Lit’s annual performance features the American Library Association’s (ALA) list of most challenged books from last year. City Lit is excited to showcase these books and to engage with you about censorship and the freedom to read during a Q&A session following the readings.

Virtual Freedom to Read Week Trivia  

For Kids- Monday, September 27

For Teens- Wednesday, September 29 

For Adults- Friday, October 1

Join us on anytime between 5-10 p.m. on the above dates for a fun-filled, fast-paced game of trivia in celebration of Freedom to Read week. Compete against your family, friends, and neighbors to show off your book knowledge, and maybe even win a prize! Log in to the trivia game with an e-mail address to be entered into a prize drawing. To collect the prize, winners must visit the library or use Parking Lot Pickup.

Guess the Book

Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.”  

Stephen Chbosky

Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is listed number ten on the list of 100 most banned books from the early 2000s, according to the American Library Association.

Can you figure out these other banned or challenged books from their quotes? Click on the quote to reveal the answer and then find e-books, movies, and more available to check out!

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
“For you, a thousand times over.”
“When you spend your whole life living in a hole, the only way you can go is up.”
“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?”
“Imagination, of course, can open any door – turn the key and let terror walk right in.”
“Oh, please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”
“Destroying things is much easier than making them.”
“All’s well that ends better.”
“But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.”
“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.”
“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2020

The American Library Association tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. Overall, 273 books were targeted. Here are the “Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2020,” along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

george book cover

1. George by Alex Gino

Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”

Stamped: Racism, antiracism, and you book cover

2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendiand Jason Reynolds

Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.

All American boys book cover

3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”

speak book cover

4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate.”

the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian book cover

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author.

Something happened in our town - a child's story about racial injustice book cover

6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views.

to kill a mockingbird 50th anniversary addition book cover

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience.

Of Mice and Men book cover

8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students.

The Bluest Eye book cover

9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.

the hate you give book cover

10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message.