PEN America’s Freedom to Learn Student Summit – Northern California

Freedom to Learn Student Summit - NorCal Logo

PEN America is coming to the San Francisco Public Library this March to host our first-ever Freedom to Learn Student Summit for high school students in Northern California! This unique day of thematic workshops and activities led by PEN America student leaders and staff will help equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to combat book banning and educational censorship to preserve the freedoms to read and learn in their schools, libraries, and communities across the region and beyond!

Our program will begin with brief presentations that introduce students to PEN America and the San Francisco Public Library, as well as the state of book bans and educational censorship issues locally and across the United States. Breakout discussions and activities will follow, where students can engage on some of the most difficult questions related to free expression and schools today. Students will be tasked at the end to work together on presenting advocacy campaign ideas to address freedom to learn challenges, exploring new and innovative ways to address the issues together through creativity and activism.


This event is open to students in any level of high school and is free to attend. Lunch will be provided. Capacity is limited so register as soon as possible. The last day to register will be Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 11:59 pm PT. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].




Program Itinerary:

Activity: Starts: Ends:

Welcome and Opening Remarks from PEN America and the San Francisco Public Library

10:00 AM 10:30 AM

Workshop: The State of Book Bans and Educational Censorship in the United States

10:30 AM 11:15 AM
15 min Break 11:15 AM 11:30 AM

Workshop: Proactive Literary Advocacy for School Boards, Administrations, and Student Communities

11:30 AM 12:15 PM

Lunch with Photo Booth and Poster Making

12:15 PM 1:15 PM

Workshop: Rally the Readers! Tips and Success Stories from Student Organizers

1:15 PM 2:00 PM
15 min Break 2:00 PM 2:15 PM

Group Advocacy Activity

2:15 PM 3:15 PM
Group Photo 3:15 PM 3:30 PM
*Subject to Change*





San Francisco Public LibrarySan Francisco Public Library Logo ​is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning, and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center, and four bookmobiles serving all ages, abilities, and means. SFPL was honored as the 2018 Library of the Year. Connect with SFPL on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to learn more about dynamic programs and services.


The Mix at SFPLThe Mix at SFPL logo is an innovative, teen-designed, 21st-century Connected Learning space that provides 4,770 square feet of space and equipment for youth ages 13-18 to explore, create and develop digital media and computer skills as well as discover and engage with the Library’s traditional books and materials. Outfitted with state-of-the-art digital media, video/sound recording, computer, and creative maker equipment, teens can expand their imaginations as well as their technology and literacy skills and engage in individual and team projects that promote critical thinking, inventiveness, and skill building. Connect with The Mix at SFPL on Instagram.