Banned Books Week at Harkins House

CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

Judith’s Reading Room Celebrates Banned Books Week
Harkins House Receives Collection of YA Books 

22 September 2023 Hillsboro, Oregon —In recognition of Banned Books Week, the global literacy nonprofit organization Judith’s Reading Room hosted a special event at Washington County’s Harkins House with a donation of mostly banned or challenged YA fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels.   The organization established a library at the residential home in May 2012.

Judith F. Krug, a prominent First Amendment and library activist, in whose memory Judith’s Reading Room was founded in 2010, fervently believed that no one should tell another person what they can or cannot read.  Judy is credited with creating Banned Books Week in 1982 in her capacity as Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association in Chicago, Illinois .  

Every year, the American Library Association compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools.  It is notable that 2022 marked the year when demands to censor library resources was the highest since the ALA began compiling data about censorship more than 20 years ago.

Scott Leiber, co-founder, Judith’s Reading Room and first cousin to Judy will make brief remarks to the residents and staff at Harkins House about Judy’s lifetime commitment to the First Amendment.  For over 40 years, Judy led the American Library Association’s prestigious Office for Intellectual Freedom.  In that capacity, she defended librarians, teachers, authors and book publishers who came under attack for offering books that someone objected to. 

To honor the spirit of Banned Books Week, Judith’s Reading Room purchased many of the top challenged books to donate to Harkins House including:  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie, Lawn Boy by Evison, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Chbosky and Looking for Alaska by Green.

“These books are intended to provide fun for youth impacted by the Juvenile Justice System residing at Harkins House,” said Cathy L. Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.  “Research shows that reading for pleasure can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being,” she added.

Today’s donation brings to a total 631 books donated since 2012 to Harkins House at a value of $7,874.  This demonstrates the organization’s on going commitment to support the education and mental health of young people by providing them books that can help navigate difficult times and build resilience.

The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  Its signature event, the annual Freedom Through Literacy Award honors teachers, authors, and librarians who have done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  To date the organization has dedicated 105 libraries in 23 countries, serving tens of thousands of children and adults with more than 132,000 books donated worth $1.4 million.

To apply for the 2024 Freedom Through Literacy Award, visit the organization’s website on October 5, 2023 at  The deadline for applications is February 5, 2024.


Banned Books Weeks Visit to Titcomb’s Bookshop

In celebration of Banned Books Week, Scott and Cathy Liber, co-founders of Judith’s Reading Room, visited Titcomb’s Bookshop, Sandwich, MA. On the right, is Ellen Speers, manager of this outstanding independent bookstore founded in 1969 in MA by the Titcomb family.
Titcomb’s Bookshop had a large display of banned books in honor of the week.

30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week

Flash-Mob Read-Out with 30 individuals walking/converging while reading from passages in 30 banned books – one for each year since the inception of Banned Books Week in America.

Judith’s Reading Room is also active in providing books to the men and woman who serve, or have served, in the US Military, our honored veterans and active-duty soldiers.

Lafayette College’s Kirby librarian Ana Ramirez Luhrs and Erin D’Amelio ’13, a double major in English and French, organized the event along with a number of related activities protesting the banning of books by schools, bookstores, and libraries across the country. Also part of the week, at Lafayette’s Skillman Library, Alan Gribben, professor of English at Auburn University, presented “The Price of Fighting Censorship: Mark Twain Editions Today”. Professor Bianca Falbo and Professor Andrew Smith held an informal roundtable discussion, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell”, of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

[note color=”#7d92e8″]
Flashmob Eva GrazelStoryteller Eva Grayzel performed using Judith Krug’s quotes on censorship as her inspiration.[/note]

30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week: Judith’s Reading Room will honor Judith F. Krug, founder of Banned Books Week, in whose memory the organization is named. Judith Krug, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom for 40 years before her death in 2009 was a towering champion of free speech and a vigorous opponent of censorship.

The American Library Association (ALA) named Judith’s Reading Room as one of eight recipients of this year’s Krug Fund Grant in support of Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week, took place September 30 to October 6, 2012, celebrates the freedom to access information, while drawing attention to the harms of censorship. 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week.

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