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Sept. 26, 2023 - Celebrate the Freedom to Read October 1 – 7 with special events at the Cedar Rapids Public Library in honor of Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week is an annual celebration to highlight the freedom to read and to spotlight challenges and attempts to censor books in libraries and schools around the country. The American Library Association (ALA) reported 1,269 attempts to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago.

Data from the first half of 2023 shows a record surge in challenges in public libraries – more than 20 percent higher than the same period the year before.

Freedom to Read Display – October 1-7 Downtown Library Commons
The Cedar Rapids Public Library will host a display highlighting your Freedom to Read, including challenged titles and information from Amnesty International on freedom of thought and expression.

Freedom to Read Timeline – October 1-7, Downtown Library Commons
The Freedom to Read Timeline will be on display in the Downtown Library Commons throughout the week to highlight the history of attempts at censorship and challenges to intellectual freedom.

Celebrate the Freedom to Read – Monday, October 2, 6-7 pm, Downtown Library
The public is invited to a special event celebrating the Freedom to Read on Monday, October 2, from 6-7 pm in Beems Auditorium at the Downtown Library. Cohosted by Amnesty International, this family friendly event will offer patrons a chance to celebrate the Freedom to Read while crafting buttons, sharing stories, and creating community art.

Activities include:

  • Book page button making 
  • Photo booth - take a photo with your favorite book
  • Community poster project: Celebrate the Freedom to Read with this collaborative art project.
  • Banned Book Display and Information on your Freedom to Read

Join the library and friends from Amnesty International as we celebrate your Freedom to Read and your right to freedom of expression during Banned Books Week 2023.