October 1-7 is Banned Books Week: "Let Freedom Read!"
On Sept. 26, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey issued a resolution in support of libraries. It was unanimously adopted by the Board.
The resolution stated that Arlington County and Arlington Public Library are an official "book sanctuary."
Chair Dorsey declared, "Arlington County libraries as book sanctuaries, committed to protecting banned and challenged books and the right of the residents of Arlington to read the books they choose without fear of suppression.”
The resolution reaffirmed Arlington Public Library’s commitment to give a voice to people whose identities and stories have traditionally been underrepresented, such as people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community and/or persons with disabilities.
According to Library Director Diane Kresh, “This year’s Banned Books Week comes with great significance due to the increased rise in books being banned in the United States as well as in the state of Virginia.”
From Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, 2023, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles, a 20% increase from the same reporting period in 2022.
2022 saw the highest number of attempted book bans since the ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubled the 729 book challenges reported in 2021.
Banned Books Week (Oct. 1-7) was established in 1982 by the late Judith Krug, then director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. For more information on this topic, visit ALA’s Banned and Challenged Books website.
How can you help celebrate Banned Books Week and the Freedom to Read?
- Become informed on the topic by consulting resources such as PEN America’s overview of rising school book bans and ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
- Commit to reading at least one challenged book. If you have a child or partner at home, ask them to commit to reading one, too. The family that reads together, thrives together.
- Stream the video recording of the recent Arlington Reads author event with Art Spiegelman (available until October 21) on the Arlington Public Library’s YouTube page.
- Share the Banned Books Week/Book Sanctuary reel on the library’s Instagram channel.
- Join Arlington Public Library for a “Challenged Books Trivia Night” on Oct 5 Quincy Hall Pints & Pizza.
- Read one of the books that have been recently banned or challenged in Virginia.
To put a spotlight on this important national issue, ALA encourages libraries across the country to participate in Banned Books Week: "Let Freedom Read!” to promote free and open access to ideas and information and to defend each person's right to read under the First Amendment.
For more information on Banned Books Week and Arlington as a book sanctuary, visit Arlington Public Library's website.
Beginning May 30, 2023, Arlington County residents and Library patrons can download an updated Arlington Public Library app from the Apple App and Google Play Stores.
The popular Library app, available for iOS and Android devices, provides streamlined access to library collections, introduces new account features, keeps track of multiple card holders, and delivers timely information about library programs, services, and location updates.
“Our top priority is to provide the community with as many options as possible to access Library collections and services,” says Library Director Diane Kresh.
“Our technology team is excited to deliver this important application for both Library staff and the community that they serve," said David Herlihy, Digital Innovation and Cloud Division Director for Arlington County. “This new offering highlights our commitment to provide innovative digital solutions that focus on the end users needs first and foremost, making it easier and more enjoyable to access government services.”
New Library app features include:
- Multiple curated reading lists
- Customizable user profiles
- User lists
- Book ratings and personalized recommendations
- Sharing options
- Stay updated with notifications
Improved Library app features include:
- Streamlined account overview
- Better catalog search options with an expanded list of filters
- Ability to place volume holds
- More filtering options for events by location
- Improved user interface design and experience
The Arlington County Departments of Technology Services (DTS) and Arlington Public Library have collaborated since 2017 to deliver a free and custom-tailored technology solution for Arlington residents and library patrons. It has been downloaded more than 60,000 times and its in-house development by both departments has reduced vendor-related costs.
The Library app furthers the County’s goal of reducing barriers for residents through its digital equity efforts. Learn more about Arlington’s digital equity initiative, which strives to provide all residents with affordable, reliable access to high-speed broadband internet.
For a full list of app features and to download the app, click here.
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Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation
Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator Award
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments - Climate and Energy Leadership Award
Virginia Association of Counties Achievement Award
Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business Award
Sustainable Libraries Award
Outstanding Public Program Award
Outstanding Achievement in Local Government Innovation Award