By Karis Rogerson
As we’ve seen a rise in book challenges and bans at libraries across America in recent months, it’s important to know not only what is happening, but also who is fighting and how we can help. This resource list is meant to give you background information as well as highlight a few organizations doing work to stop book censorship, particularly censorship of LGBTQ+ books. Consider it something of a toolkit for fighting book bans. We would also like to add that inclusion on this list is not a blanket endorsement of a person, organization, or news source’s views and total online presence.
Articles with information:
- LGBTQIA+ Books Are Under Attack as More Bills and Bans Take Them Out of Libraries and Classrooms—Here’s How Community Members Are Fighting Back — this article contains an excellent primer on what’s happening, but also has some steps community members have taken and can take to fight back.
- While some banned queer books see a sales bump, others quietly disappear — a common refrain is that a banned book is a positive as it often gets attention; this article calls out where there’s wrong.
- 3 Ways to Make Your Child’s School More LGBTQ+ Friendly — actions for parents to take to help schools.
- How to Fight Book Bans and Challenges: An Anti-Censorship Tool Kit — this Book Riot article from Oct. 2021 rounds up not just what’s going on but is a great resource for steps to take to fight back.
Twitter hashtags/accounts to follow and/or interact with:
- #FReadom — a hashtag and a movement with a Twitter account @FReadomFighters as well as a website that includes action items.
- @veronikellymars — for weekly censorship news roundups.
- #BooksNotBans — a useful hashtag for keeping up to date with the news.
- @TasslynM — another user sharing resources and information on book censorship.
Groups/Organizations to follow for information:
- American Library Association — the ALA is an association founded in 1876 that focuses on libraries and librarians. The hyperlink leads to their page on book censorship.
- Banned Books Week — an organization hosting an annual event to raise awareness about and celebrate banned books.
- Book Ban Busters — provides a handy map of where books are being challenged as well as helpful tools for fighting back.
Actions to take:
- Get involved with your school board — you can do this by attending meetings or writing letters, because it’s important to show the school board that voices challenging books are not the only ones that matter.
- Join your local library board — this is a great way to advocate for books in your public library, again to be a voice speaking out against the book challenges.
- Start a GSA at your school or in your community — GSAs in schools are important tools for queer teens and allies to find safety, but you have to be faculty to be involved.
- Check out the NCAC’s Book Censorship Action Kit — the National Coalition Against Censorship has put together a comprehensive multi-page action kit for fighting book challenges.
- Donate to the EveryLibrary Institute — this organization supports library advocacy.
- Donate books or money to a Little Free Library — these are community-run storage spots for free books for people who may not be able to access them otherwise.
Karis Rogerson is an American, Canadian, pseudo-Italian who loudly (but only sometimes fluently) speaks 2.5 languages and is proud to be of the auburn-haired club. As a reader and writer, her childhood heroes included Anne of Green Gables and Jo March (classic), and these days she admires authors like Angie Thomas, Sandhya Menon, and Heidi Heilig, who are changing the world one brilliant story at a time. Find more of her writing on her website, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram for writing updates and pictures of Italy and New York City.