Massachusetts Libraries Celebrate the Freedom to Read with Statewide Read-Ins


September 21, 2023
June Thammasnong
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

Since 1982, Banned Books Week has been an annual fall event that highlights the value of free and open access to information by bringing together librarians, educators, authors, readers and the entire book community in shared support of the freedom to read.  Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship and the efforts to remove or restrict access to books and expression of ideas.

According to data from the American Library Association, in 2022, Massachusetts experienced the fourth-highest number of reported book challenges nationwide with 45 book challenges affecting 57 titles.  The amount of book challenges Massachusetts faced last year was even higher than those in Florida or California.  In a recent survey conducted by the Joint Task for Intellectual Freedom, nearly 25% of school and public librarian respondents combined report harassment on social media; 18% report being harassed in person related to book challenges or program challenges.

 “While Americans may not agree on what to read, we are united in the freedom to choose for ourselves.  A strong democracy resists censorship at every turn," said Andrea Fiorillo, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom/ Social Responsibility Committee.

During Banned Books Week this October 1-7th, libraries across the Commonwealth will be hosting read-ins in an effort to encourage communities to come together and exercise the freedom to read.  All are invited to visit a participating library with a favorite book or discover something new and join others for unrestricted reading. Digital participation is also welcome, as all Massachusetts residents can download eBooks or audiobooks free of cost.

Let Freedom Read Statewide Read-Ins are supported by local libraries and the Joint Task Force for Intellectual Freedom with members from the Massachusetts Library Association, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Massachusetts Library System, and the Massachusetts School Library Association.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.