Honoring Champions
of Free Expression


Book Banning and the First Amendment

Book bans have recurred throughout American history. In recent months, school boards, lawmakers, political activists and others have expanded the scope of book bans in our nation's schools and libraries.

The First Amendment protects our right to read the books we choose, so what place do book bans have in our public libraries and schools?  Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, talks about this escalating trend and its threat to free expression.

This conversation, taped at the Library of Congress on June 21, 2022, was a capstone event celebrating the Freedom Forum's 30th anniversary.

PEN America has led the charge in challenging bans across the country for decades and recently collated an Index of School Book Bans, which offers a snapshot of the trend.

Related Content

religious club

Can Public Schools Have Religious Clubs?

Explaining how the Equal Access Act protects religious clubs at public schools.
Read More
700x394_D. Hudson_12.08.jpg

The First Amendment Right to Protest Has Limits

Not everything we say or do is protected speech, assembly or petition.
Read More

Perspective: 5 U.S. Olympic Athletes Who Flexed Their First Amendment Muscles

These U.S. Olympic athletes flexed their muscles for freedom. Some paid a price for speaking…
Read More

What do Americans think about their freedom of petition?