What is Banned Books Week? 
In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case,
Island Trees School District v. Pico, ruled that school officials can not ban books in libraries simply because of their content.  Shortly thereafter, Banned Books Week was launched by the American Library Association in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to specific books in schools, bookstores, and libraries resulting in restricted access, or that were targeted for removal. Annually, in September, this week has become an opportunity for supporters of the freedom to read to speak out in protest against the banning of books, and the harms of censorship.

What is KVML’s  participation?
The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library began participating in Banned Books Week in 2011 when Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five and a book called Twenty Boy Summer were banned from a rural Missouri school. KVML  then shipped 75 copies of Vonnegut’s book to students at that school who requested them. KVML has been celebrating the freedom to read ever since.

KVML’s  protest:
One highlight of our annual programming is the invitation of an artist, educator, or other passionate visitor to become our Activist in Residence, and actually “live” in the museum for the entire week behind a wall of banned books. This act protests the infringement of the right to free expression. Drew DeSimone, actor and screenwriter, will be our honored host who will take up the torch to educate and enthrall our visitors during this special week.



About ALA’s Banned Books Week


Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. For additional information about American Library Association’s Banned Books week visit ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned.




Drew DeSimone

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. For additional information about American Library Association’s Banned Books week visit ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned.

Every year we invite an artist, educator, or other passionate visitor to become our Banned Books Week activist, “living” in the museum for the week, behind a wall of real banned books in protest of the infringement of the right to free expression. This year we are honored to have actor and screenwriter Drew DeSimone live in our museum as our activist in residence.

Drew DeSimone is an actor and screenwriter with a PhD in Astrobiology, and the 2021 Program Chair of KVML’s Good Earth: Vonnegut & the Environment. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Drew was a NASA Fellow at the University of Washington where he used submersibles to study the microbiology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents as a proxy for researching the evolution of life on Earth. He then spent ten years as an executive in the Bio Tech and Sports Business industries, working around the world for the Seattle Sounders FC, Prozone Sports and Belay. Drew is a passionate primary education and animal welfare volunteer who has taught classes from elementary school to college, and spayed and neutered thousands of cats and dogs in North and South America. Drew’s writing explores mental health, upbringing, and our relationship with the natural world. His screenplay adaptation of Vonnegut’s Galapagos is currently in development.




Banned Books Week Links

Week Long Passes:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-week-long-virtual-pass-tickets-167471378401, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-week-long-in-person-pass-tickets-167513546527

Day One: Young Voices Need to Be Heard: A Discussion of Censorship and Youth
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-day-1-young-voices-need-to-be-heard-inperson-pass-tickets-167484465545

Day Two: Banning Art: Censorship and the Visual Arts
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-day-2-banning-art-virtual-pass-tickets-167497881673

Day Three: Welcome to the Jungle: A Discussion of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-day-3-welcome-to-the-jungle-virtual-pass-tickets-168831247807

Day Four: Censoring Sci-Fi: The Interplay between Science Fiction and Freedom of
Expression
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-day-4-censoring-sci-fi-in-person-pass-tickets-169150436509

Day Five: Storm’s A Brewin’: A Discussion on Global Warming, Climate Change, and
Weather Phenomena
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-day-5-storms-a-brewin-virtual-pass-tickets-169151553851

Day Six: Silencing Women: the Censorship of Female Writers
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-day-6-silencing-women-in-person-pass-tickets-169157511671

Day Seven: So it Goes Literary Journal Release Party
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-books-week-day-7-so-it-goes-literary-journal-release-party-tickets-169161190675