PEN America, ALA, Children’s Book Council, Leading Publishers, Teacher Groups, and Other Organizations Launch Letter-Writing Campaign to Oppose Censorship
Here’s the Full Text of a Release From PEN America:
For Banned Books Week 2023, PEN America and We Believe gathered a consortium of the nation’s leading publishers, teacher and librarian groups, and nonprofit organizations to rally behind the freedom to read by signing a joint open letter and launching a public letter-writing campaign opposing book bans.
The open letter stakes out principles that unite the groups in opposition to book bans and support of free expression. “We believe in the freedom to read. Schools and libraries are critical places to kindle imaginations and spark a lifelong love of learning. Students deserve classrooms and school libraries that help them be successful,” it begins. “We believe stories matter. Books can be powerful, compelling, insightful, and enjoyable. Literature has endless value and should be publicly accessible to all.”
With school book bans surging 33 percent over the past school year, according to PEN America’s recent Banned in the USA report, this year’s Banned Books Week Oct. 1-7 is being marked with greater urgency to reverse a growing crisis that is erasing ideas and topics from classrooms and libraries.
The open letter was signed by publishers Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, Macmillan, Scholastic, Hachette Book Group, Sourcebooks, Lee & Low, Levine Querido, Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Charlesbridge, Browns Books Publishing Group, Familius, Mad Cave Studios, and Quarto. The American Library Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Education Association, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education also signed on.
Nonprofit organizations signing the statement include We Need Diverse Books, Stand for Children, and Red, Wine & Blue.
Among the points made in the letter is that all students should feel valued in the classroom, that parents are partners in education, and that teachers and librarians deserve respect. As part of the campaign, the organizations are encouraging members of the public to send letters to their local representatives opposing book bans, with an easy electronic option on the Pen.org website.
The undersigned groups have joined with the open letter to fight book bans:
- American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
- American Federation of Teachers
- American Library Association
- Brown Books Publishing Group
- CAA Foundation
- Campaign for Our Shared Future
- Candlewick Press
- Children’s Book Council
- Every Child a Reader
- Florida Freedom to Read Project
- Freedom to Read Foundation
- Hachette Book Group
- Learning Heroes
- Lee & Low
- Let America Read
- Levine Querido
- Macmillan Publishers
- Mad Cave Studios
- National Council of Teachers of English
- National Education Association
- Our Turn
- Parents Together
- PEN America
- Penguin Random House
- Readers to Eaters
- Red Wine & Blue Education Fund
- Simon & Schuster
- Stand for Children
- Unite Against Book Bans
- We Believe
- We Need Diverse Books
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.