Kansas City and San Francisco Public Libraries Partner to “Tackle Censorship”

San Francisco – As their cities gear up to battle in the biggest football game of the year, the Kansas City Public Library and San Francisco Public Library are teaming up on a Tackle Censorship campaign celebrating the freedom to read.

Attempted book bans continue to rise in the United States; in 2022, the American Library Association (ALA) recorded 1,269 attempts, the highest number in more than 20 years. Public libraries accounted for 48 percent of challenges. In addition to book bans, libraries also face challenges to displays, exhibitions, programming, and more. Even as these attempts are rising in frequency, the majority of the public oppose book bans: Unite Against Book Bans shares that 71 percent of voters are against removing books from public libraries.  

The two library systems have made a friendly wager on the performance of their city’s teams. A library representative in the city whose team loses the Super Bowl will sport the winning city’s gear and read a banned book in a recording that will be shared on social media. The Tackle Censorship campaign began during the 2023 Super Bowl with the Kansas City Public Library and Free Library of Philadelphia.

“Kansas City is thrilled to be making another Super Bowl appearance, but book banning remains as serious a concern as it was last year,” says Carrie Coogan, deputy director for public affairs and community engagement at the Kansas City Public Library. “We are excited to come together with the San Francisco Public Library to highlight this critical issue, even if we hope they are on the losing side of our bet. And with a coach whose last name shows the importance of Reid-ing, how could we lose?”

“In San Francisco, only our passionate commitment to intellectual freedom and combating censorship surpasses our love for the 49ers!” says City Librarian Michael Lambert. “San Francisco Public Library’s mission is to connect our diverse communities, to learning, conversations, and ideas, while serving as an affirming space for all. This collaboration with Kansas City Public Library allows us to celebrate our collective dedication to ensuring that every member of our community can read freely.”

Even though their teams will be against each other in the big game, KCPL and SFPL are united in battling book bans together. The stakes could not be higher in protecting the right to read. For more information on censorship, visit TackleCensorship.org.

Media Contacts:
Kelly Sheehan
Public Information Officer
San Francisco Public Library
Kelly.sheehan@sfpl.org I 415.214.4681

Anna Bernard
Media Relations & Communications Specialist
AnnaBernard@kclibrary.org I 816.701.3669

February 8, 2024