It’s Right to Read Day, 2024!

Right to Read Day 2024-This Book is Banned

ast year Unite Against Book Bans issued a call to action for readers, library lovers, and advocates everywhere to stand up to censorship as part of a national day of action. It was called Right to Read Day, and thousands answered the call.

Let’s do it again!
Because the book banners are definitely still at it.

In 2023, a record-breaking 4,240 unique book titles were targeted for censorship. That’s a whopping 65% increase over the 2,571 unique titles targeted in 2022. And, a staggering 128% increase over 2021 numbers.

right to read day 2024-surge statics

This surge was driven by groups and individuals demanding the censorship of multiple titles, often hundreds at a time. Such multi-title challenges comprised about 89% of all book challenges in public libraries in 2023. In comparison multi-title challenges only made up 5% of book challenges in 2019.

Organized pressure groups have utilized their power—and exhaustive lists of titles—to wage an aggressive campaign to empty library shelves of all books they deem inappropriate, rather than allowing people to decide for themselves what they and their children read.

And there’s clearly an effort to squash diversity and inclusiveness. Because 47% of books targeted were titles representing the voices and lived experiences of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals.

As challenges to books in school libraries rose dramatically in recent years, would-be censors frequently insisted they weren’t banning books because students would have full access to them at their public library. But…   the number of titles targeted for censorship at public libraries increased by 92% in 2023.[1]

tight to read day 2024-public library statistics

What can we do about it?

  • Check out a library book that’s at risk of being banned. Yes, it really does help. Doing so proves the book in question is useful to and used by the community your public library is intended to serve.
  • Share statistics about book banning on your social networks. Here are some graphics to help drive the information home.
  • Let your voice be heard at a meeting of your library board, school board, or other local officials. Here’s a handy guide to help you get organized.
  • Organize your community against censorship, and to defend the freedom to read. Here’s a toolkit to get you started.
  • Report censorship to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

But don’t limit your actions to Right to Read Day. Keep your activism against censorship going beyond April 8th. Continue to counter the small but vocal group of voices driving the current wave of book bans in schools and public libraries.

Let’s put the kibosh on this alarming effort to restrict our right to read!

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