Celebrate Right to Read with Banned Books Week Events

September 13, 2022 | Library News

With book challenges on the rise across the country, libraries are even more dedicated to shining a light on how the freedom to read is essential to democracy. Every year, Albany Public Library (APL) participates in Banned Books Week to highlight the power of communities uniting to resist censorship.

This September, APL hosts two events featuring published works that have been banned or challenged. The events are free and open to the public. Registration is required and can be done by calling (518) 427-4300 or via the APL online events calendar


Sept. 22 (Thu) at 6-8 pm

In-person at Washington Ave. Branch and virtual via Zoom

The Banned Books Week Read Out features regional actors, writers, politicians, poets, and activists of all types reading from their favorite books that have been banned or challenged in the U.S. There are limited in-person seats at Washington Ave., and many more spots available through a Zoom broadcast.

The Read Out is possible through a partnership with APL, NY Civil Liberties Union of the Capital Region, Upper Hudson Library System, and Voorheesville Public Library. This program is designed for teens and adults. Registration is required.


Sept. 20 (Tue) at 6:30-7:30 pm

Attendance via Zoom

Best-selling author Kelly Yang discusses book-banning and censorship. Yang has written some wonderful books for youngsters, including the award-winning Front Desk. The book, based on her experience emigrating from China as a young girl and working the front desk of a motel, was challenged last year.

Yang has also been instrumental in organizing children’s book authors to speak out in opposition to the organized attacks against books featuring BIPOC and LGBTQ characters. “This is a deliberate and organized effort to control what our children get to read,” Yang told School Library Journal last December. “The reality is, they’re not going to stop at books. If you allow censorship, where do you draw the line?”

Yang’s talk is designed for children age 10 and older, teens, and adults. Registration is required.

Banned Books Week was created by the American Library Association (ALA) to draw attention to the harms of censorship. According to ALA, “library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books.” Last year, ALA tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials that resulted in 1,597 book challenges or removals.

“Banned Books Week is both a reminder of the unifying power of stories and the divisiveness of censorship, and a call to action for readers across the country to push back against censorship attempts in their communities,” according to ALA.

Albany Public Library encourages everyone to celebrate the freedom to read, during Banned Books Week and throughout the year.

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is manager of APL's Communication and Creative Services Department, which provides content and information for the library's website, social media, publications, videos, podcasts, and other outlets. Stephanie also manages APL's public relations and marketing efforts.