Book Banning on the Rise in US: American Library Association Reports Record-High Attempts

Did you know that there has been a surge in attempts to ban books in the United States? According to the American Library Association, last year saw a record-high number of requests to remove books from shelves. In fact, there were 1,269 individual requests filed across the country demanding the restriction or removal of one or more books. That’s a huge increase from the previous year’s record of 729 requests.

What’s even more concerning is that the majority of these books were related to LGBTQ issues and marginalized groups. Over 2,500 individual books were “targeted for censorship” in 2022, up from around 1,900 in the previous year, and the vast majority of them (86 percent) were children’s books. More than half of them (58 percent) were books taught or available in schools.

Beloved by Toni Morrison Book Cover
Beloved by Toni Morrison Book Cover

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has called each of these attempts to ban books “a direct attack on every person’s constitutionally protected right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore.” And that’s not all. The prize-winning novel “Beloved” by African American novelist Toni Morrison has been particularly targeted in recent years.

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It’s not just concerned individuals who are behind these attempts to ban books. According to the ALA, many of these requests come from organized censorship groups that target local library board meetings and share their lists of targeted books on social media.

All in all, it’s a worrying trend that’s been on the rise since 2003, and it’s up to all of us to stand up for our right to read and learn from diverse perspectives.

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