In 2023, Banned Books Week runs from October 1 - 7. Suppressing books is a problem every week.
Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons. 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.
Why Comic Books are Banned
"Comics are challenged for all of the same content reasons that other books are challenged, but are uniquely vulnerable to challenges because of the medium’s visual nature..."
Banned and Challenged Comics
CBLDF's list of banned and/or challenged comic books
History of Comics Censorship
"This six part series puts our ever-popular convention presentation on the history of comics censorship into print, covering the history of comics censorship from book burnings and the establishment of the Comics Code Authority to modern day library challenges and attacks on manga."
Book Banning has existed in America since colonial times, when legislatures and royal governors enacted laws against blasphemy and seditious libel. Legislatures in the early American republic passed laws against obscenity. Though freedom of the press has grown significantly over the course of the twentieth century, book banning and related forms of censorship have persisted due to cyclical concerns about affronts to cultural, political, moral, and religious orthodoxy.
“I think we always have to bring the idea back to our constitutional rights,” says Mary Keeling, president of the American Association of School Librarians. “What’s important about this isn’t the sensationalism of a banned book; the importance is our freedom in a democratic society to listen to and read and think the ideas we want to think. That concept is essential to democratic discourse.”
"In those early days, Banned Books Week consisted almost entirely of libraries and bookstores hanging posters and displaying banned books. “Those displays were enormously effective communication tools,” says Finan, “because people would wander over and find out that the books they love had been challenged. Suddenly they understood that censorship isn’t just about fringe literature.”