Take Action & Defend Books: Suggestions from Experts!

By Heather Ford

Fandom Forward Presents Book Defenders: fandomforward.org/bookdefenders

Are you ready to defend books? Let’s go!

  1. Christine started us off by suggesting that people who are concerned about a local book ban write a letter to a school administrator or a board official. She mentioned that giving a reason why this book’s banning matters to you is helpful. Your city, town, or school district’s website should have the necessary addresses and names of who to contact.
  2. Next, Christine mentioned that attending a school board meeting in person is important, as those in favor of banning books often have many (very vocal) people at these meetings voicing support of the ban. On this point, Jonathan also encouraged people to find out how books are being removed, knowing this information can help us fight the root cause of the bans. Your city, town, or school district’s website should have board meeting times, and how to get on their agenda. Some states offer hybrid or virtual meetings that you can attend from your home.
  3. Christine’s final suggestion was to contact the local media when a book ban is announced. Media is hugely important in any activist movement: the more people who know about something being banned, the more people who have the ability to speak out against the ban. Email addresses or contact forms can usually be found through the “Contact Us” page on sites for local blogs, newspapers, or TV stations.
  4. Alaina echoed Christine’s suggestion about attending school board meetings, and took it one step further: encouraging people to consider joining their local school board. They directed people to a blog post on We Need Diverse Book’s site which outlined how to get started.
  5. Alaina emphasized that a great (and easy!) way to support diverse authors and commonly banned books is not by buying or donating banned books (read why this is not the best action to take here), but rather to simply request your local library carry said book.
  1. Katie, our Managing Director, recommended writing an op-ed or letter to the editor to your local news outlet. This action is also a great option if you’re not comfortable with speaking at a school board meeting.
  2. Christine recommending joining a social media campaign, such as using the hashtag #FREADOM. Other campaigns include #UniteAgainstBookBans and #BooksNotBans. Search those hashtags to find out what exactly people are posting, then join in!
  3. Finally, Jonathan noted that PEN America is building a network across the country of people that want to organize against book bans and encouraged people to email him at education@pen.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

How to support Book Defenders

This panel was a great addition to Fandom Forward’s first Book Defenders summer and if you want even more ideas on how to defend books, downloading the Book Defenders Toolkit is a great place to start! There’s even a sample letter to write to help students in Texas who are fighting for student representation on their school district’s governance committee, the body of people that make decisions concerning book bans.



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