“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs.”
- Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For more than 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community — librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, writers, journalists, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.
In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom ALA documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. Of the record 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, most were by or about LGBTQIA+ persons and Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
The theme for Banned Books Week 2023 is "Let Freedom Read." When we ban books, we're closing off readers to people, places, and perspectives. But when we stand up for stories, we unleash the power that lies inside every book. We liberate the array of voices that need to be heard and the scenes that need to be seen. Let freedom read!
Unite Against Book Bans is a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship. Take action and defend the right to read for all Americans.
Join the Movement
About Book Bans and Challenges
Books are still being banned and challenged today. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.
While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
The most challenged books of 2022 and lists of the
Top 10 Most Challenged Books for each year.
Banned book displays kick-off conversations about censorship and inspire readers to explore challenged materials. Check out some display ideas from libraries across the U.S. — some of which only require construction paper and an imagination.
Banned Books Week Q&A
This resource offers issues, strategies, and resources for preparing your professional community (teacher librarians and public librarians) to celebrate Banned Books Week.
A History of Banned Books Week
Read about the history of Banned Books Week and ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom in American Libraries Magazine.
Report challenges to or bans of materials, resources, programs, and services to ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom.
For media inquiries or to schedule an interview related to Banned Books Week or other ALA intellectual freedom initiatives, contact ALA's Communications and Marketing Office.