Book Banning Intensifies

Last month’s celebration of Banned Books Week was overshadowed by the announcement by the American Library Association that the number of books challenged in 2022 was already approaching last year’s totals, which were the highest in decades.

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community—librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types—in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “It’s both the number of challenges and the kinds of challenges. It used to be a parent had learned about a given book and had an issue with it. Now we see campaigns where organizations are compiling lists of books, without necessarily reading or even looking at them.”

The ALA has documented 681 challenges to books through the first eight months of this year, involving 1,651 different titles. In all of 2021, the ALA listed 729 challenges, directed at 1,579 books. Because the ALA relies on media accounts and reports from libraries, the actual number of challenges is likely far higher, the library association believes.


  1. There needs to be tighter controls on this sort of action.

    If the Qanon folks are going to gang up on books without even knowing anything about them outside them being on a provided list – there needs to be a way to qualify how well they know these books.

    If you don’t know specifics about the book their ban request should be thrown out.

    Otherwise, you’re giving them an easy way to push their agenda.

Comments are closed.