With an unprecedented level of targeted book bans rapidly surging across the country, the American Library Association partnered with the Glen Echo Group during 2022 Banned Books Week to spread awareness and educate audiences on concerns of rising censorship and its implications in libraries, classrooms and beyond. We organized a press campaign to inform audiences of the 2022 banned books data released by ALA and draw attention to upcoming events. We positioned ALA to offer insights into why many books are being taken off the shelves, resulting in 39 interviews, resulting in more than 134 total media hits.
As book bans targeting materials primarily written by and for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC populations rapidly increase across the country, librarians on the front lines deserve to be heard.
As book bans targeting materials primarily written by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC populations rapidly increase across the country, librarians on the front lines deserve to be heard. Libraries are vital components to any thriving community, offering a broad array of information and experiences to adults and children alike. More books were challenged in the first eight months of 2022 than in the entirety of 2021 — the highest number of attempts the ALA has recorded since it began tracking the information 20 years ago. As threats of violence toward library workers and patrons continue to be more rampant, there is an increasing need for libraries to share their stories with the public.
A press campaign to inform audiences of the 40th anniversary of Banned Books Week through broadcast,
podcasts and written media.
The Glen Echo Group drafted two press releases on the data and events, highlighting that more books were challenged in the first eight months of 2022 than in the entirety of 2021. Our main messages highlighted that LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities are most impacted by book bans and that the surge in these coordinated attempts to curb free speech hurts all. By developing a roster of press contacts who had an interest in this issue, including targets from national and local outlets, education and library trade publications, LGBTQ+ outlets and live television at the national and local levels, the team worked to coordinate interviews for ALA President Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada and Director of ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom Deborah Caldwell-Stone.
Throughout 2022 Banned Books Week, the American Library Association saw far-reaching intrigue and concern on this topic. We shared information and resources with reporters, set up interviews and worked to ensure that the message of the harms of book bans reached audiences across the United States and even internationally. ALA experts were positioned to share why book bans were increasing across the country and the implications of these far reaching bans in communities. We secured coverage in the Associated Press, The Guardian, Library Journal, The New York Times, NPR, POLITICO, Publishers Weekly, USA Today and The Washington Post.
Additionally, ALA President Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada and Director of Intellectual Freedom Deborah Caldwell-Stone conducted filmed interviews on The Daily Show, Fox 5 DC, NBC 2 Fort Myers and CNN. At a time that is more divisive than ever for intellectual freedom and diversity of thought, the mission of ALA and Banned Books Week is absolutely vital.
We entrusted y’all with sensitive messaging controversial stuff & scores of media requests in short order. You brought enthusiasm to the mission & team overall. The problem persists. Thanks for being an important part of the solution. #UniteAgainstBookBans https://t.co/ejQVGi89qs— S.hines ✨ (@shawnda_hines) February 16, 2023
Overall, the Glen Echo Group coordinated 39 interviews, resulting in more
than 134 media hits.