Surge in Book Challenges Press Kit

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. 

In recent months, a national campaign demanding the censorship of books and resources that mirror the lives of those who are gay, queer, or transgender, or that tell the stories of persons who are Black, Indigenous, or persons of color have surfaced. Efforts to ban books have empowered elected and non-elected officials to abandon constitutional principles, ignore the rule of law, and disregard individual rights, resulting in local and state governments attempting to censor library collections. Some individuals who have filed challenges have resorted to intimidation and threats to achieve removal, targeting the safety and livelihoods of library workers, educators, and board members who have dedicated themselves to public service and educating youth.

The American Library Association (ALA) kicks off National Library Week with the release of its State of America's Libraries Report, highlighting the challenges U.S. libraries faced in the second year of the pandemic – as well as the ways they innovated to meet the needs of their communities. 

Library staff in every state faced an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.

Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2021 Infographic | ALT Text for Infographic: Top 10 Books of 2021:

Infographic: Top Ten Most Chalenged Books of 2021:The American Library Association tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Of the 1,597 individual books that were challenged or banned in 2021, here are the top 10 most challenged: 1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images. 2.    Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.     3.    All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.     4. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit. 5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda. 6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and use of a derogatory term.     7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women.     8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit.     9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson. Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.     10. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin. Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.

Press Releases / Statements 

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

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
 

Resources

Unite Against Book Bans (ALA's national campaign to fight censorship)

The ALA Freedom to Read Statement

Access to Library Resources and Services Regardless of Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sexual Orientation: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Fight Censorship (Resources for librarians)

Frequently Challenged Books

2022 State of America's Libraries Report

2021 State of America's Libraries Report (PDF)

American Libraries (Official journal of the ALA)

Artwork


Book Challenges in Motion