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Judith Krug Fund Banned Books Week Event Grants

Judith Krug Fund Banned Books Week Event Grants

Each year FTRF distributes grants to non-profit organizations to support activities which raise awareness of intellectual freedom and censorship issues during the annual Banned Books Week celebration (September 27 - October 3, 2020). Libraries, schools and universities are encouraged to apply. Grants are awarded at two levels, $1,000 and $2,500. To be eligible for a grant, organizations must not have been a recipient of an FTRF grant within the past five years.

Grantees are encouraged to share their events on social media and local press. A follow-up report detailing expenditures, numbers of participants, links to press coverage, and a narrative of the event is due within six weeks of the Banned Books Week celebration.


2020 Banned Books Week Grant Recipients

The 2020 Banned Books Week celebration is September 27 - October 3, 2020

Cambria County Library

The Cambria County Library (Johnstown, Pennsylvania) will be celebrating Banned Books Week with events that will center on the history of the Beat Generation and banned books. This year will mark the 65th anniversary of the Six Gallery reading in San Francisco, where one of the most infamous banned books — “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg — was read for the first time. To celebrate this milestone, the library welcomes Jami Cassady, daughter of cultural and literary icon Neal Cassady, who will present a virtual lecture for the library. The celebration will also feature a history presentation, a banned book reading and a reading challenge through Beanstack (a virtual platform). Because of the COVID-19 virus, the library plans to host all activities online.

Center for Transformative Action/Ithaca City of Asylum

The Center for Transformative Action (CTA) /Ithaca City of Asylum (Ithaca, New York) will celebrate Banned Books Week with a free live-streamed presentation and conversation by two internationally acclaimed cartoonists who have paid a high personal price for their work, a cartooning workshop and contest for children in summer programs in libraries in Ithaca and Pittsburgh, and a virtual exhibit of political cartoons on the website of Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca. Organized by CTA’s Ithaca City of Asylum (ICOA) project, the celebration is a collaboration between ICOA, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, Tompkins County Public Library and other organizations.

The featured cartoonists are Pedro X. Molina, who fled Nicaragua in 2018 and is now ICOA’s writer-in-residence, and Rob Rogers, who was fired that same year by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for his cartoons critical of the president. Both will work virtually with children in library summer programs, judge a cartooning contest and curate an online exhibit in addition to presenting their work and taking questions in a free online event.

The event will replace Ithaca City of Asylum’s annual in-person celebration of Banned Books Week, which has typically included readings, performances or panel discussions. It will be ICOA’s first live online event and first substantive programmatic collaboration with City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, a fellow member of the International Cities of Refuge Network and an important cultural institution in its community. 

Both City of Asylum programs provide refuge for persecuted writers from around the world and advocate for freedom of expression in the creative arts. “Voices of Freedom” is normally ICOA’s main fundraiser for the year, and a representative will make a pitch for donations. 

Central Washington University Libraries

Central Washington University Libraries (Ellensburg, Washington) is dedicating Banned Books Week 2020 to raising up LGBTQIA+ voices and stories in literature. The libraries will be working with campus and community partners to create and offer programming around LGBTQIA+ literature, including a moderated panel discussion featuring librarians, students, and community members; an author talk; a book club discussion; and book giveaways. The libraries will also create additional programming that will highlight banned books with a LGBTQIA+ theme, such as book displays and a reading bingo of suggested readings centered around the theme.

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

Since its founding in 2009, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (Indianapolis, Indianapolis) (KVML) has championed the legacy of banned author Kurt Vonnegut and the principles of free expression and common decency by operating a museum and lending library and by offering unique programming. One important annual KVML event is Banned Books Week. This week features a variety of themed events artistic exhibitions, lectures, panel discussions and always a “prisoner” jailed in the museum for the week behind a wall of banned books.

To date, KVML’s Banned Books Week has reached 3,500 participants, and its Banned Books Week programs have earned international recognition. In 2020, KVML will celebrate Banned Books Week by offering a series of events focused on civic engagement and youth writing. Events will include youth writing workshops, a reading of the original play “Kurt Vonnegut: WordPlay”, a reception for a women’s suffrage 100th anniversary traveling exhibit and discussions about censorship and freedom of expression.

Manor High School Library

Manor High School Library (Manor, Texas) will celebrate Banned Books Week by showing how social taboos change over time and how book banning events reflect the tensions that existed in society at a moment in time. This is envisioned as a living timeline that visitors will "walk" through on a self-guided basis, either physically or online, with one banned book selected for each decade from 1930 to 2020, for a total of 10 stops in all. In addition to the main exhibit, there will be games and contests: name the pictured author, eyebrow raising contest, limerick contests, drawing contests and a book walk (similar to a cake walk).

Maricopa Public Library

The Maricopa Public Library (Maricopa, Arizona) is planning a community Banned Books Week event in order to celebrate this year's theme, "Censorship is a Dead End," as well as bring awareness to the city and patrons on the importance of intellectual freedom. The event will include a “Mystery Hint Search” in collaboration with local businesses and a “Murder Mystery of Banned Book Characters Party” for those who complete the puzzles. All players of the final mystery game will represent favorite banned or challenged characters. In a two-pronged way, Maricopa Public Library will plan and host the event as well as create displays in the building to feature Banned Books Week. In addition to the event, the Maricopa Public Library will also create educational and informative multimedia displays that will initially focus on Banned Books Week and will grow to become a Maricopa Public Library staple.

The displays will consist of a mobile display unit and dedicated screen that allows patrons to explore the facts surrounding banned/challenged material. Each multi-media display will contain links to additional information through the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, games, questionnaires and multiple copies of challenged material and additional take-home information.


Past Krug Fund grant recipients

2019 Banned Books Week Grant Recipients

Academy of the Sacred Heart - New Orleans, Louisiana This is the Academy’s first Banned Books Week event and they will transform their library into a Book Prison.  Students, faculty, and parents will be encouraged to come into the library to have their "mugshot" taken with their favorite banned book and a "Caught Reading" sign.  Faculty members will be dressed as "cops." As part of the transformation, the library will also conduct an escape room which students will need to free the banned books.   As a culminating event, they will have a Read-out of a banned book. The entire lower school will participate in the darkened auditorium with each student holding a flashlight to “Keep the Light On”. They will hold other events throughout the week that engage students of all ages. To learn more about their activities, visit:

Belen Public Library - Belen, New Mexico The Belen Public Library is dedicating the 2019 Banned Books Week to issues surrounding Women and Censorship.  Belen, New Mexico is a town of 7,300 people with a broad diversity of perspectives. From families who arrived in Belen in the 1740s as the first Hispanic settlers of the region to families who arrived in the last few years.  The area is rich and varied in the lifestyles, spiritual traditions, and political perspectives of the residents. Women in the area range from traditional homemakers and home-educators to the world-renowned feminist artist Judy Chicago, and every nuance in between. The beauty of such a diverse community can be challenging when it comes to defending everyone’s right to intellectual freedom and freedom of expression. In partnership with other local organizations dedicated to maintaining the wide diversity of views and expressions in our community, they intend to offer a week of exhibits, performances, presentations, and community discussions exploring the experiences and perspectives of women around censorship.  Issues include women’s political expression and suffrage, banned books by women, social censorship of women, women and social media, and women’s bodies and art. To learn more, visit:

Oceanside Public Library - Oceanside, California The 2019 theme for Banned Books Week at Oceanside Public Library is “Escaping Censorship.” Staff will create an escape room, with the goal of players trying to “escape censorship”.  The Library will partner with a local nonprofit art studio, Studio ACE, to offer art programs for all ages, focusing on the theme of censorship with the artwork created in these classes as centerpieces in the Library’s Escape Room.  Participants who “escape” the banned books Escape Room, will earn a t-shirt customized for this project. The library participates in a monthly city-wide Art Walk, a popular arts and culture festival, where the banned books artwork, Escape Room materials, books, and information about censorship will be on display to foster community dialogue about the importance of the freedom to read. 

Park University Library - Parkville, Missouri The Park University Banned Books Week project will be themed "Love is Love," and will focus on banned books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters, authors, and content. As a larger library endeavor, library staff have been striving to have more inclusive collections, particularly regarding LGBTQIA+ characters and authors, since they feel the University underrepresents LGBTQIA+ students in events, programming, and inclusion efforts. The project will engage students, faculty, staff, and community members on a topic rarely discussed on campus, and it will be their first official Banned Books Week event.  Learn more at

Worcester County Public Schools - Newark, Maryland The three Worcester County Public high schools will celebrate Banned Books Week with stations set up in the library that encourage patrons to celebrate reading banned books and advocate for the freedom to read. Stations will include creating short videos reading pages from banned or challenged books, writing postcards to authors thanking them for writing books worth challenging, choosing to read banned or challenged books, and posting to social media or creating posters to encourage others to protect our freedom to read.  During the culminating event, students and community members will participate in Banned Books Week Trivia and discuss Banned Books and surrounding issues. Learn more at

2018 Banned Books Week Grant Recipients

Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA. Library staff will host an "Edible Banned Books Festival," where professional and amateur bakers create a banned book cake masterpiece. Local patrons and community partners will vote for noteworthy banned book delicacies and bid on their favorite cakes to then take home. All money raised will be donated to Literacy Volunteers of the Winchester Area.

Independence Public Library, Independence, KS. The library will promote three local events: a community-wide mural competition with a concept of the freedom to read; a debate between the local community college and high school debate teams about censorship; and “Rock the Block: I’m with the Banned,” a community-wide street celebration celebrating the freedom to read.

James F. Byrnes High School, Duncan, SC.  In their program “Some Rights Reserved: South Carolina Speaks Out,” students and staff will highlight book challenges that have occurred in South Carolina and censorship issues in STEAM.

Moreno Valley High School Book Club, Moreno Valley, CA. The highschool will plan activities such as a banned book “cartmobile,” a jailbird photo booth opp, a hands on trivia game, crafts and an informal book discussion. This will be their first Banned Book Week/Freedom to Read event.

Suffolk Public Library, Suffolk, VA.Through their “Banning Books Silencing Stories: Alt Rebels” program, library staff, patrons, and community members of all ages will be given the opportunity to explore and focus on banned books as seen through the lens of an alternative universe scenario where books are banned, and ideas are dangerous.

Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC. The university will highlight books that have been banned across the state of North Carolina in libraries and in prison systems. Interactive week-long activities will build off this year’s theme of “Banning Books Silences Stories.”


Banned Books Week 2017

Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, Smith River, Calif
Rutgers University Libraries in New Brunswick, NJ
Carrol County Library in Huntingdon, Tenn.
University of North Florida’s Thomas G. Carpenter Library in Jacksonville, Fla.
Alhambra Civic Center Library in Alhambra, Calif. 
Thorntown Public Library in Thorntown, Ind. 
City Lit Theater Company in Chicago, IL

2016 Banned Books Week Grant Recipients

On the evening of Friday, April 15, 2016 Banned: A community conversation about censorship and free speech (Banned) and Friends of Hemming Park co-hosted The Lorax Movie and Green Market, a family-friendly event in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. Event activities tied together two important issues during the week preceding Earth Day: the need to protect trees and our environment and the freedom to read. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is a favorite banned classic that highlights the environmental impact of deforestation; the Year of the Trees was the Earth Day 2016 theme.

BBW 2017 Troy University Libraries

Troy University Libraries, a 2016 BBW grant recipient, celebrates the freedom to read.


Banned Books Week 2016

Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, Tucson, AZ
Kimbel Library and Bryan Information Commons, Conway, SC
Springfield Local High School, New Middletown, OH
Saint Paul Public Library, Saint Paul, MN
Troy University Libraries, Troy, AL
The Water Buffalo Club, Los Angeles, CA


Banned Books Week 2015

Chapel Hill Public Library, Chapel Hill, NC.
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis, IN.
Remembering for the Future Community Holocaust Initiative in Neptune Beach, FL.
SA Youth, an organization that works with at-risk youth in San Antonio, TX.
Virginia Beach Public Library, VA.

Read more in our press release.

Banned Books Week 2014

Seven organizations were recipients of 2014 Krug Fund Banned Books Week event grants!

Read more about their grants in our press release



Banned Books Week 2013

Seven organizations were recipients of 2013 Krug Fund Banned Books Week event grants! 

Read more about their grants in our press release



Banned Books Week 2012 

In 2012, FTRF provided eight $1,000 Krug Fund Banned Books Week event grants. For photos, check out FTRF's Facebook album.

   Lawrence Public Library Talkeetna Judith's Reading Room ACLU of Pennsylvania St. Catharine College 

Two of the 2012 Krug Fund recipients subsequently received $10,000 John Cotton Dana awards for excellence in promotion of library services.  Congratulations to Cal Poly's Kennedy Library and Lawrence Public Library! 

Banned Books Week 2011

Six grants were awarded in 2011: Bay County Public Library and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression each were awarded $2,500 grants; Springfield-Greene County Library District, North Dakota Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee, Thomas F. Holgate Library at Bennett College, and Skokie Public Library all received $1,000 grants. 

Banned Books Week 2010

Seven organizations were awarded Banned Books Week inaugural Krug Fund event grants in 2010. They were: Iowa City Public Library, Takoma Park Maryland Library, Canisius College, Santa Monica Public Library, St. Catharine College, Dayton Metro Library - East Branch, and ACLU of Pennsylvania.