Since 1988, POV films have been known for their intimacy and unforgettable storytelling, challenging public television audiences across the country to think critically about contemporary social issues. Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association, is a time to discuss censorship and celebrate diverse ideas and the freedom to read. This year the event is celebrated by book-lovers everywhere from September 21st-27th. To celebrate Banned Books Week, POV encourages educators, librarians, and other community members to join us in celebrating the freedom to read and consume all forms of media by hosting film events featuring themes of censorship, freedom of speech, the joy of reading, and more. Our Community Network and Lending Library has over 80 films to borrow for your event, and we have some Banned Books Week-themed recommendations here:

  • High Tech, Low Life (90 mins) follows two of China’s first citizen reporters as they navigate China’s evolving censorship regulations and challenge the boundaries of free speech.
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America (90 mins) is about Daniel Ellsberg’s daring act of conscience, where in 1971 he concluded that America’s role in Vietnam was based on decades of lies. He leaked 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to The New York Times, directly leading to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation, and the end of the Vietnam War.
  • Reportero (60 mins) features a veteran reporter and his colleagues at the independent Mexican newspaper, Zeta. Together, they defy powerful drug cartels and corrupt officials in order to continue publishing the news.
  • Biblioburro (60 mins) is a perennial favorite of libraries. It is not about freedom of speech or censorship, but about a librarian who braves all obstacles in order to bring books to the children of the violence-ridden Magdalena Province in Colombia.
  • American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (90 mins) features Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese American philosopher, writer, and activist in Detroit with a thick FBI file. With this film, Boggs challenges a new generation to think creatively and redefine revolution for our times.

There are just a few simple steps to borrow a DVD from our free Lending Library.

  • Register in the POV Community Network (it’s free).
  • Activate your account: Check your inbox for an activation link and temporary password.
  • Request: Log in to your account and click “Create an Event.”
  • Screen: We’ll send the DVD to you about one month prior to your screening date.

All of the films in our Lending Library have an accompanying Partner Toolkit that features discussion guides, lesson plans, and reading lists to help facilitate discussion on censorship and the freedom to share ideas through media after the credits have rolled. Keep on reading, and don’t forget to subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs!

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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.