Santa Barbara Public Library (SBPL) invites the community to celebrate the freedom to read with special events and book giveaways as part of Banned Books Week during October.

Across the United States, a record number of book were challenged in 2022, including 2,571 unique titles, according to the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom.

The majority of books targeted for removal from libraries explore the history of institutional racism in America and gender identity and sexuality.

As outlined in SBPL’s Collection Development policy, the library’s mission includes providing access to information and collections to support the free expression of ideas; an informed public; and participation in government and civil society in support of the public good.

To encourage access to information and the free expression of ideas, SBPL will distribute free copies of more than 250 unique titles that have been challenged historically or in recent years. This project is funded by an anonymous private donor.

Community members are invited to explore frequently challenged titles at Library on the Go van stops throughout the week, including:

  1. Library on the Go Happy Hour, 5-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2 on Shaloob’s Funk Zone Patio.
  2. State Street during the Farmer’s Market, 3-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3.
  3. Senior Expo at Earl Warren Showgrounds, 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Oct. 4.
  4. State Street during 1st Thursdays 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5.
  5. Books and Breakfast event at Central Library, 10-11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6.

Since 1982, Banned Books Week has rallied librarians, booksellers, authors, publishers, teachers and readers to celebrate and defend the freedom to read.

Annually, Banned Books Week highlights the value of free and open access to information. The event is supported by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, including the American Library Association, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

For more about Santa Barbara Public Library programs and services, all of which are free to the public, visit