Booksellers played an important role in celebrating the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week this year. They submitted some of the best videos among the more than 500 submitted for the Internet read-out of banned and challenged titles on YouTube. Bookmans' video was the most watched video with over 17,000 views.
City Lights Bookstore featured some of its famous friends, including store founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti and director John Waters.
For many bookstores Banned Books Week was a community affair. Powell's, in Portland Oregon, engaged local writers by inviting them to read and sign books while Inkwood Books of Tampa, Florida made its read-out an open-mike event filled with books, lattes and raffle prizes.
ABFFE's president Chris Finan participated in Banned Books Week at the local level at the invitation of Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colorado. He described his experience in a column in Bookselling This Week. Displays of banned books are still the centerpiece of Banned Books Week in most bookstores. The University of Alaska Anchorage Bookstore's display featured a "Ban the Burn" sign above a witch's caldron filled with 'burning' books. Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington, Delaware created a beautiful window presentation that centered a "Be Free Read" Statue of Liberty poster in the middle of books labeled "the top 10 most challenged books" (Peter Schertz, Andrea Avantaggio, Chris Finan, Libby Cowles)
Several bookstores took advantage of ABFFE's partnership with the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) to line up speakers. MLRC members are media attorneys who can speak knowledgeably about First Amendment law and current free speech controversies. They participated in events at Carmichael's of Louisville, Kentucky, Brazos of Houston, Texas, Bound to Read of Atlanta, Georgia and Kings English of Salt Lake City, Utah. These talks are part of the MLRC Institute's First Amendment Speakers Bureau, which is funded by a grant from the Dow Jones Foundation.