In an era where access to information is more crucial than ever, the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library are uniting on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, to champion the #FreedomToRead. This movement seeks to protect the invaluable right to explore diverse ideas, voices, and perspectives within the pages of books, standing against the alarming rise of book bans and challenges across the United States.
The American Library Association (ALA) has recently reported a disheartening trend: the highest number of attempted book bans in more than two decades. Preliminary data for 2023 suggests that we are again on track for another record-breaking year in censorship attempts, with a disturbingly high number of challenges directed at public libraries. Shockingly, the majority of these targeted books feature LGBTQ+ voices and people of color, amplifying the urgency of the #FreedomToRead movement.
So, why is defending the freedom to read so essential? Why do libraries play such a vital role in maintaining this fundamental right? Let’s explore these questions and discover how you can join the cause.
The Power of Books: Building Bridges and Fostering Empathy
Books are more than just words on paper; they are windows into different worlds, opportunities to expand our horizons, and tools to foster empathy. They allow us to walk in someone else’s shoes, experience their joys and struggles, and gain a deeper understanding of the human experience. Books build bridges between cultures, generations, and backgrounds, making us realize that, despite our differences, we are not alone in our quest for knowledge, understanding, and connection.
Libraries: Bastions of Freedom and Knowledge
Public libraries are the guardians of knowledge, the champions of free access to information, and the defenders of intellectual freedom. They are sanctuaries where people of all backgrounds can come to explore the world through the written word, free from the constraints of censorship or prejudice.
In a time when information is readily available online, libraries continue to play a crucial role in ensuring equitable access to knowledge. They provide a safe haven for those without internet access, a place for students to study, and a treasure trove of resources for lifelong learners. Public libraries are pillars of our communities, and they deserve our unwavering support in the fight for the #FreedomToRead.
How Can You Participate in the #FreedomToRead Movement?
Joining the cause is easier than ever, thanks to social media and digital activism. On October 4, 2023, at 10 AM, show your support for libraries and the freedom to read by using the hashtag #FreedomToRead on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and more. Share why open access to books, information, and knowledge is important to you or your community. Don’t forget to include a meaningful book in your post and tag NYC libraries: @bklynlibrary, @nypl, @QPLNYC.
Option 1: Share a Photo of a Book
Take a picture of a book that is meaningful to you.
Post the picture on your preferred social media platform.
Use #FreedomToRead to stand against censorship and book banning.
Sample Social Media Posts:
“I’m joining @bklynlibrary @nypl @QPLNYC to stand against book bans and censorship. Here’s the book I’m reading, what are you reading? #FreedomToRead”
“Books like this have the power to change lives. That’s why I am standing for the #FreedomToRead this Banned Books Week to oppose censorship of all kinds. Share your favorite book!”
Option 2: Share Your Support
Download one of the graphics provided.
Share it on social media with the hashtag #FreedomToRead.
Sample Social Media Posts:
“During this Banned Books Week, we stand with NYC public libraries to support the #FreedomToRead! Stand against book bans—everyone should be able to read whatever they want.”
“This Banned Books Week, I’m standing against censorship of all kinds and celebrating the right to read what I want. #FreedomtoRead”
Option 3: Share by Email
If you’re not on social media, you can still make a difference by connecting with friends and family and encouraging them to stand for the #FreedomToRead. Share the message via email with a simple call to action.
Subject: Today! Take action for the #FreedomToRead
Message: Take a stand for the #FreedomToRead! Join NYC libraries to protect the freedom to read amid rising book bans. Act now: [Include the link to the event website]
In a world where information is power, let us stand together on October 4, 2023, to ensure that the #FreedomToRead remains a fundamental right for all. Let our collective voice echo through the digital realm and beyond, reaffirming that books, libraries, and the unquenchable thirst for knowledge are forces to be cherished and protected. Join us in celebrating the power of books, reading, and public libraries, and let’s make a resounding statement: The right to read freely is non-negotiable.