Frequently Challenged Books
The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. We compile lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. Explore the 30 Years of Liberating Literature timeline, Banned/Challenged Classics, Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century, 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books by Decade, and the Most Frequently Challenged Authors pages of the 21st Century. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. For more information on ALA's efforts to raise awareness of censorship and promote the freedom to read, please explore Banned Books Week.
We do not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges as research suggests that for each challenge reported there are as many as four or five that go unreported. In addition, OIF has only been collecting data about banned books since 1990, so we do not have any lists of frequently challenged books or authors before that date.
How is the list of most challenged books tabulated?
The Office for Intellectual Freedom collects information from two sources: newspapers and reports submitted by individuals, some of whom use the Challenge Reporting Form. All challenges are compiled into a database. Reports of challenges culled from newspapers across the country are compiled in the bimonthly Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom (published by the ALA, $50 per year for a digital subscription); those reports are then compiled in the Banned Books Week Resource Guide. Challenges reported to the ALA by individuals are kept confidential. In these cases, ALA will release only the title of the book being challenged, the state and the type of institution (school, public library). The name of the institution and its town will not be disclosed.
Where can you find more information on why a particular book was banned?
- Visit your local public library and ask your librarian.
- Find or purchase the latest Banned Books Week Resource Guide, updated every three years, which may be available at or through your local public library.
- E-mail the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom to ask about a specific book. A staff member will reply with any information the office has on file. Please limit your inquiry to one book. If you would like information on more than one book, please consider purchasing the Banned Books Week Resource Guide.
- See Banned and Challenged Classics.
- Check out the Banned Books Week > Ideas & Resources > Free Downloads page where you can find the yearly Books Challenged or Banned Lists that contain more information on why a book was challenged.
If the information you need is not listed in the links to the left, please feel free to contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4220, or email@example.com.