Censorship By the Numbers Infographic Text

Banning Books silences stories and discussions. Censorship succeeds when no one talks about it. Raise your megaphone and speak out for banned books! Learn more at ala.org/bbooks.


  • Challenge: An attempt to remove or restrict materials based on objections from a person or group.
  • Ban: The removal of materials based on content.

Who intiates challeges to materials?

42% library patrons; 32% parents;14% Board or administration; 6% Librarians and teachers; 3% political and religious groups; 2% elected officials; 1% students.

Where do challenges take place?

56% public libraries; 25% school (curriculum and classrooms); 16% School libraries; 2% academic libraries; 1% Special libraries and other.

Beyond Books

Books aren't the only items threatened with censorship.  THe American Library Association tracks chalenges to materials and services in libaries, schools and universities.

In some cases,community members want an author's speaking engagement  canceled or an LGBT display taken down. Other times, patrons would like certain DVDs or magazines removed from shelves. In 2017, 491 materials were challenged or censored.

Breakdown of 354 challenges tracked in 2017

67% books; 18% databases, magazines, films, games;7% programs; 4% displays; 4% other.

Why are materials challenged?

Sexually explicit, violence, LGBT,profanity, racism,propoganda,political viewpoint,un-american;n-word;mental illness;perpetuating stereotypes;abortion;sex education; pervasively vulgar; politically biased; insensitivity, humor;low literary value; may lead to terrorism; indoctrination of children;ant-family; scary to minors; nudity;pornography;gender identity;horror;questioning of religion; unqualified author; defies authority;occult/satanism;confusing;misogynistic world views;drugs; inaccurate;

Statistics on censorship compiled by the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom.