Sonoma County Library is raising awareness about censorship and celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, October 1 to 7.
First established in the 1980s, Banned Books Week unites the book community in support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. 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.
The American Library Association documented 1,269 demands to censor books at U.S. public schools and libraries in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago.
Most targeted books were for a teen audience and were by or about LGBTQIA+ persons and Black, Indigenous, and people of color, including Gender Queer, by Santa Rosa author Maia Kobabe, the most challenged book nationwide since 2021.
“This week is about celebrating the freedom to read,” aid Jaime Anderson, Sonoma County Library’s Collection Services Division Manager. “We encourage community members to read a banned book from the list or any other book of your choosing. Our collection includes a wide variety of views and expressions. There is something for everyone.”