The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., will recognize Banned Books Week 2019, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, from September 22-28. The theme of this year’s event is “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark. Keep the Light On!”

Banned Books Week is the most important opportunity during the year for advocates — publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and readers — to explain why we must defend everyone’s right to choose what they want to read and view.

Since it was launched in 1982, Banned Books Week has been shining a light on censorship, and the fight for free expression is as urgent as ever. In recent years, attacks on the right to read have become bolder, as legislatures have introduced bills that would eliminate crucial safeguards for the right to read books that some people find offensive.

In 2018, the American Library Association tracked nearly 350 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, as well as 483 books that were challenged or banned. A full list is available at

It is estimated that over half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.


Nationwide, the top 5 most frequently challenged books of 2018 were:

1. “George” by Alex Gino.

2. “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” by Jill Twiss.

3. “Captain Underpants” series by Dav Pilkey.

4. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas.

5. “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier.

Celebrate your freedom to read by reading a banned book today! Having these books available in public libraries is one way the Brown Library supports the PA Forward statewide initiative, which believes that libraries are community pillars of information and learning, providing numerous points of view.

The James V. Brown Library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; and 24/7 at