September 19, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(301) 699-3500 x6154
Largo, Maryland – This Banned Books Week (September 18-24, 2022), the Prince George’s Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) launches its new “Rock Banned” campaign to promote and support the efforts of keeping readers connected through literature that represents and opens the doors to new ideas and experiences. “PGCMLS proudly defends Prince George’s County residents' freedom to read. Literature plays a vital role in helping us understand the multitude of complex and challenging issues facing society today,” said Megan Sutherland, Interim Chief Operating Officer for Public Services.
The Library’s new year-round campaign aims to build public awareness in Prince George’s County about the importance of the freedom to read. PGCMLS affirms Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist (and Bowie resident) Leonard Pitts Jr.’s statement, “If you can’t read freely, how can you ever live freely?” (Miami Herald).
As the local institution charged with promoting literacy and lifelong learning, PGCMLS believes that every customer deserves free access to inclusive and welcoming spaces (in-person and online) where they can see themselves reflected in literature. Educational resources about the freedom to read are now available at pgcmls.info/activate, and customers may explore reading recommendations in the library catalog and Libby. Special events for Banned Books Week include:
According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were more than 729 attempts to ban around 1,597 individual books in 2021 alone, with numbers rising in 2022. Censoring literature creates division and barriers, denying readers the opportunity to expand knowledge and experience new opportunities. Unfortunately, attempts to ban books from libraries are rising at an unprecedented level across the country, despite the fact that 71% of voters “oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries” and 67% of voters “oppose efforts to remove books from school libraries” (ALA). The “Top 10 Challenged Books of 2021” list published by ALA confirms that stories centering Black or LGBTQ+ experiences and identity are among the most targeted by censorship attempts, including the works of Toni Morrison, George M. Johnson (who appeared with PGCMLS in 2021, watch on demand George M. Johnson: watch on demand here), Angie Thomas, and Maia Kobabe.
Banned Books Week has been commemorated nationally every year since 1982. The occasion shines a spotlight on attempts to undermine democracy and the freedom to read through censorship. Led by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, Banned Books Week brings together professionals in education, journalism, and the literary community to uplift and celebrate how books and stories make communities stronger and more empathetic. The national theme for Banned Books Week 2022 is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”
About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 967,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve book lovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. PGCMLS is the recipient of the 2021 Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator Award for Workforce and Economic Development. Learn more at pgcmls.info/about-us.