Top 10 Most Challenged Books and Frequently Challenged Books Archive

An archive of censorship attempts in libraries since 1990.
logo of the Office for Intellectual Freedom American Library Association features a flame to the left of the text.

The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. Every year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from media stories and voluntary reports sent to OIF from communities across the U.S.

The Top 10 lists are only a snapshot of book challenges. Surveys indicate that 82-97% of book challenges remain unreported and receive no media coverage.

For the most recent Top 10 Most Challenged Books list, click here.

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Additional Information for 2000–2009

From 2000 to 2009, 5,099* challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Download graphs of censorship data for 2000–2009.

Reasons Cited

  • 1,577 challenges due to "sexually explicit" material
  • 1,291 challenges due to "offensive language"
  • 989 challenges due to materials deemed "unsuited to age group"
  • 619 challenged due to "violence"'
  • 361 challenges due to "homosexuality"
  • 274 challenges due to "occult" or "Satanic" themes
  • 291 challenges due to "religious viewpoint"
  • 119 challenges due to "anti-family" content

(Please note that the number of challenges and the number of reasons for those challenges do not match because works are often challenged on more than one ground.)


  • 1,639 challenges in school libraries
  • 1,811 challenges in classrooms
  • 1,217 challenges in public libraries
  • 114 challenges in college classes
  • 30 in academic libraries

There are isolated cases of challenges to library materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and students.


The vast majority of challenges were initiated by parents (2,535), followed by patrons and administrators (516 and 489 respectively).

* We continue to receive challenge reports after the Top Ten lists have been published. This number reflects all the challenges received since July 31, 2013 for the 2000-2009 time period.

Information for 1990–1999

Download graphs of censorship data for 1990–1999.

Before 1990

OIF has only been collecting data about banned books since 1990, so we do not have data or lists of frequently challenged books or authors before that date.

Frequently Challenged Books Lists