Happy Banned Books Week – let’s get to work.
If you keep up with the news, chances are you’ll see a new story about book bans and libraries under attack nearly every day. There’s plenty you can do to push back against these censorship attempts, from speaking up at your local library and school board meetings to reporting censorship when it happens in your community. But there’s another way to raise your voice in the conversation around book bans: submitting a letter to the editor!
It may seem old school, but writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is a great way to elevate your voice and reach a wider audience. Generally, people submit letters to the editor in response to articles or columns that have been recently published in that specific media outlet. And don’t worry – no postage required. In most cases, you can submit your letter online via email or a form.
Ready to write? Here’s how to get started:
Search online for the name of your local newspaper along with “submit a letter to the editor,” which should provide you with an email address, mailing address, or online form where you can submit your letter. You’ll probably need to provide your name, town or locality, and contact information (which won’t be published).
Most newspapers limit the length of published letters to 200-300 words, so be sure to stick within any limits the publication outlines in their instructions. And be sure to refrain from making any personal attacks or ax-grinding comments. Our action toolkit provides suggested talking points to help you customize your letter.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few examples to check out:
- “Why let two people ban so many Florida books?” – Tampa Bay Times
- “Letter to the editor: Book-banning futility” – TribLive
- “Your letters: Book bans are based on fear, ignorance” – Wausau Pilot & Review
Want to do more? Here are more actions you can take any time of the year.