For immediate release | May 15, 2024

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom to benefit from new book of essays


CHICAGO — A new book of essays, “Why Books Still Matter,” inspired by the late First Amendment champion Joyce Meskis, has been released this month, with proceeds going to the ۰̨ͼ’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF).

Meskis, who owned the celebrated independent bookstore Tattered Cover in Denver, was a fierce opponent of book banning, and 16 luminaries in book-related fields and the U.S. Senate have contributed to the book, which is edited by Karl Weber and .

“The topics of the essays in ‘Why Books Still Matter’ are some of the most important in our country right now, from freedom of speech and censorship to representation so people can see themselves reflected in books and to build empathy,” said ۰̨ͼPresident Emily Drabinski. “We are deeply thankful that the proceeds of the book will be donated to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom to champion libraries in this current landscape of increasing book challenges throughout the country.”

The ۰̨ͼsaw a record 4,240 unique book titles targeted for censorship in 2023, a 65 percent increase from 2022, when 2,571 titles were challenged. OIF tracked 1,247 demands to censor library books, materials and resources in 2023. For additional information about book challenges and how to fight them, visit the

Here are a few of the contributing essayists to the book:

  • U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado lauds the mission that Meskis embraced: “The more books we can put in people’s hands, the better the world will be.”
  • Nick Higgins and Amy Mikel of the Brooklyn Public Library discuss an award-winning program to make banned books available to young people in communities across the country.
  • Civil liberties attorney Steve Zansberg describes a new way to think about the right to free expression and its role in a democratic society.

About the ۰̨ͼ

The ۰̨ͼ (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ۰̨ͼhas been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit .


Jean Hodges



Communications, Marketing & Media Relations Office