While more diverse books are being published now than ever before, there’s a larger issue: making sure these books can be read. Book bans try and limit what readers can access, so even if a diverse book makes it through the perils of traditional publishing, it might never make it to readers. Do you want to make sure your favorite books stay on shelves? These are the organizations and libraries saving books, and what you can do to help.
Organizations Stopping Book Bans
There are a few different organizations that are devoted to stopping book bans. Many of these are organizations that revolve around memberships. So if their message really speaks to you, you can join them in the fight against bans.
One popular organization is Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), which has been around since 1969. Its mission has stayed the same since its founding.
FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect—and individuals to access—information.—Freedom to Read Foundation
They’ve protected stories like Slaughterhouse-Five from bans back in 1971 and continue to support books today.
There’s also American Booksellers Association (ABA) which is specifically about protecting independently-owned bookstores. In 1982, they launched Banned Books Week to help stop improper book bans. The event has grown over the years, now reaching 2.8 billion readers each fall when it takes place. They even send out kits to bookstores to help them receive supplies to educate readers on book bans.
Lastly, American Library Association, specifically the Office for Intellectual Freedom, deals with policies that confront intellectual freedom. They provide support to anyone who contacts them about censoring issues. They also provide training workshops on how to deal with censorship topics.
These are only three of the many organizations that you can donate to help save books. Even if you can’t donate, promotion alone can help these organizations reach a larger number of readers.
Libraries Fighting Bans
It’s not only foundations and organizations seeking to stop book bans. There are also libraries making a huge effort to keep diverse books on their shelves.
Louisiana libraries have been fighting against conservative book bans stopping LGBTQ+ books from being in their libraries. Most public libraries have boards. So there are attempts from Christian conservative communities to take over the public library boards and ban the books. However, Louisianan librarians have been speaking against these attempts to silence authors.
Once you start relocating and banning one topic, it becomes a slippery slope, and where does it end?—Amanda Jones, President of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians
There are also Little Free Libraries, which are small shelves spread throughout towns and neighborhoods. By using these libraries, readers can take or leave books without any expenses. Little Free Libraries receive a large number of banned books and continue to support their circulation.
Florida Libraries are fighting against some of the worst book bans of the moment. Two moms are part of a fight with librarians and teachers against the book bans from Ron DeSantis. Together, they’re trying to prevent the bans on LGBTQ+ books in public schools. It hasn’t been an easy fight for them, and they’re continuing to protest.
This is the 21st century. We don’t ban books, right?—Jen Cousins
Want to learn more about fighting book bans? Read another article!