June 26, 2023
Yesterday, June 25, Penguin Random House was proud to join the Association of American Publishers, the American Library Association and millions of other Americans who believe in the freedom to read and publish by joining the historic #FreedomToRead campaign, in which Americans are standing united together against book bans.
You can read the full release below and or you can visit the ALA website here to take action and sign on to support the freedom to read.
Association of American Publishers and American Library Association Reaffirm 1953 Freedom to Read Statement, Joined by the Authors Guild and American Booksellers Association
As censorship threats continue to target libraries, schools, publishers, authors, and booksellers, the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) are calling on all members of the book community to affirm their commitment to the Freedom to Read Statement on its 70th anniversary. They are joined by the Authors Guild and American Booksellers Association as well as numerous other signatories.
First published on June 25, 1953, the Freedom to Read Statement begins with this timeless observation: The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack.
And the freedom to read continues to be threatened. In the past year, more than 60 state bills have been introduced that would restrict or chill what Americans may read. Many of these efforts are unquestionably unconstitutional and would impair the First Amendment rights of readers of all ages.
Following are joint remarks from Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association; Allison K Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association; Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers; and Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild:
“Seventy years ago, fear, suspicion, and suppression fueled by McCarthyism was at a fever pitch—a serious situation that required a robust and vigorous affirmation of intellectual freedom and the constitutional protections that protect it. Today, as we grapple with a new wave of censorship in schools, libraries, and bookstores targeting a wide range of expression, including fiction and nonfiction, the Freedom to Read Statement remains an important defense of the freedom to write, publish and inquire.
“Our democracy is based on the belief that every person’s right to read is indispensable to their personal and political happiness. This fact is indisputable. American democracy has always depended on the lawful dissemination and rigorous protection of speech—from all political quarters and all personal perspectives, both old and new ideas.
“To be clear, not every expression of authorship will withstand the rigorous and sustained scrutiny of the marketplace of ideas, but our free society requires that we have the right to make up our own minds about what we choose to read and what we think of what we’ve read. As our predecessors stated in 1953, “Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.”
“As we celebrate this anniversary, we are mindful not only of the rights of readers, but of the nation’s authors, publishing houses, bookstores, and libraries, whose missions both reflect and are in service to our free society.”
Again, we invite you to pledge your support at UniteAgainstBookBans.org