Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Sep 19, 2023 | News & Events,

Celebrating the Freedom to Read


Thursday, October 5 at Noon
High Low Listening Room, 3301 Washington in Grand Center

It’s Banned Books Week. Join Rachelle Brandel (Missouri Library Association), Kathleen Gallagher (Richmond Heights Public Library), and Joe Monahan (St. Louis Public Library) with moderator St. Louis Public Library Board President Vincent Volpe, and the ACLU’s Tony Rothert to learn about how librarians are responding to Missouri’s new mandates. Actor Jacqueline Thompson will begin the program with an inspirational reading.

The free weekly High Noon lecture series is presented by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. Librarians Respond is co-sponsored by St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts.

About Banned Books Week
Of course, no one is celebrating banned books — except those banning books! The annual week-long event celebrates the freedom to read. It spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings 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.

Record Surge of Challenges in Public Libraries
Between January 1 and August 31, 2023, the American Librarians Association reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles — a 20% increase from the same reporting period in 2022. The vast majority of challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Read more here.

Missouri Schools Ban More Than 300 Books
A new report from PEN America, a nonprofit that works to protect freedom of expression, found that close to 300 books have been banned across 11 Missouri school districts since August 2022. Missouri joins Texas, Florida, Utah, and South Carolina, the states where bans are most prevalent. Read more here.