The American Library Association (ALA) champions and defends the freedom to read as promised by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Efforts to ban books have persisted in American history, but those efforts are reaching unprecedented heights.
In 2022, ALA documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources – the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. Ninety percent of the overall number of books challenged were part of attempts to censor multiple titles.
Contributing significantly to the skyrocketing number of book challenges is the prevalent use of lists of books compiled by organized censorship groups. Each attempt to ban a book by one of these groups represents a direct attack on every person’s constitutionally protected right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore.
Raymond Garcia, email@example.com
Charisse Barnachea, firstname.lastname@example.org
Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022
Library staff in every state faced an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 1,269 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2022, resulting in more than 2,571 unique title challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.
Because many book challenges are not reported to the ALA or covered by the press, the Top Most Challenged Books lists and 2022 data compiled by ALA represent only a snapshot of book challenges. A challenge to a book may be resolved in favor of retaining the book in the collection, or it can result in a book being restricted or withdrawn from the library.
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Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada, MLIS
ALA President (2022-2023)
ALA President Lessa Pelayo-Lozada is adult services assistant manager at the Palos Verdes Library District in Rolling Hills Estates, California. She has served in a variety of capacities in public libraries, including as a librarian for young readers and teens. She is a past president and past executive director of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association and is a board member of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature. Pelayo-Lozada holds an MLIS and a BA in sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Deborah Caldwell-Stone, JD
Director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and Executive Director, Freedom to Read Foundation
For over two decades, Deborah Caldwell-Stone has advised librarians, teachers and library trustees on a wide range of intellectual freedom issues, including censorship of library resources, book challenges, internet filtering, and the impact of new technologies, regulations and government surveillance on library users' privacy and confidentiality. A former appellate litigator, Caldwell-Stone received her J.D. with Honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Press Releases / Statements
May 2, 2023: ALA Announces Theme for Banned Books Week, October 1-7, 2023
April 24, 2023: National Library Week kicks off with the highly anticipated annual list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books and State of America's Libraries Report
April 17, 2023: ALA calls for national day of action to protect the freedom to read, designates Right to Read Monday for 2023 National Library Week
March 27, 2023: American Library Association Condemns Ongoing Threats Against Libraries
March 22, 2023: American Library Association reports record number of demands to censor library books and materials in 2022
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October 3, 2022: Unite Against Book Bans challenges candidates to oppose censorship, support librarians and educators as election season rolls in
September 19, 2022: Access to a Wide Variety of Reading Materials Is Critical for Student Development & Well-being
September 16, 2022: American Library Association Releases Preliminary Data on 2022 Book Bans
September 15, 2022: American Library Association Highlights Increasing Censorship Attempts During Banned Books Week Programming
August 9, 2022: American Library Association (ALA) Condemns Proposed State Legislation Limiting Access to Information on Reproductive Health
June 24, 2022: ALA Condemns Threats of Violence in Libraries
June 21, 2022: Authors Jason Reynolds, Nancy Pearl join high schoolers to Unite Against Book Bans at world’s biggest library event in Washington, D.C., June 25
June 1, 2022: Library, author, bookseller groups condemn legal action attempting to censor books in Virginia
May 9, 2022: More than 25 organizations join forces with the American Library Association to Unite Against Book Bans
April 9, 2022: ALA submits comments opposing book banning for House Oversight Committee hearing
April 4, 2022: National Library Week kicks off with State of America’s Libraries Report, annual 'Top 10 Most Challenged Books' list and a new campaign to fight book bans
March 24, 2022: Large majorities of voters oppose book bans and have confidence in libraries
November 29, 2021: The American Library Association opposes widespread efforts to censor books in U.S. schools and libraries
August 18, 2021: ALA Statement on Censorship of Information Addressing Racial Injustice, Black American History, and Diversity Education
Unite Against Book Bans
Unite Against Book Bans is ALA's national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.
Censorship by the numbers
Censorship data from 2022 paints a vivid picture of attempts to ban or restrict library books and resources across the United States. We break down censorship by the numbers.
2023 State of America's Libraries Report
ALA's annual State of America's Libraries Report, which highlights the most critical issues facing libraries across the country. Includes 2022 censorship figures.
"Fight Censorship" Resource Clearinghouse
A clearinghouse of resources to assist library workers and advocates in responding to and supporting others facing those challenges.
ALA Freedom to Read Statement
The ALA Freedom to Read Statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, and was last amended June 30, 2004.
Library Bill of Rights Interpretations
Documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights and background statements detailing the philosophy and history of each.
Book Challenges in Motion