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. On September 20, 2023, ALA released new preliminary data documenting a continued uptick in attempts to censor books, materials, and services across public, school, and academic libraries in the United States between January 1 - August 31, 2023.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Charisse Barnachea, email@example.com
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a book may be resolved in favor of retaining the book in the collection, or it can result in a book being restricted or withdrawn from the library.
ALA President (2023-2024)
ALA President Emily Drabinski is critical pedagogy librarian at the The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is a life member of ALA, and her past ALA service includes a term as chair of the International Relations Committee (2020-21), ALA councilor-at-large (2018-20), and chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Frameworks and Standards Committee (2019-20). Drabinski holds an MLIS from Syracuse University, a BA in political science from Columbia University, and an MA in composition and rhetoric from Long Island University, Brooklyn.
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
September 27, 2023: Banned Books Week 2023: Programs, Day of Action, and Events Announced
September 20, 2023: LeVar Burton to lead 2023 Banned Books Week as honorary chair
September 19, 2023: American Library Association releases preliminary data on 2023 book challenges
September 14, 2023: ALA condemns threats of violence to Chicago-area libraries
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September 16, 2022: American Library Association Releases Preliminary Data on 2022 Book Bans
June 24, 2022: ALA Condemns Threats of Violence in Libraries
Unite Against Book Bans is ALA's national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.
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.
ALA's annual State of America's Libraries Report, which highlights the most critical issues facing libraries across the country. Includes 2022 censorship figures.
A clearinghouse of resources to assist library workers and advocates in responding to and supporting others facing those challenges.
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.
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.