• Tuesday, June 25, 2024

American Library Association Reports 1200 Attempted Book Bans and Limitations in Public and School Libraries in 2022

They are coordinated by national organizations like the conservative Mothers for Liberty, whose goal is to "unify, educate, and empower parents to protect their parental rights at all levels of government."
on Mar 24, 2023
American Library Association Reports 1200 Attempted Book Bans and Limitations in Public and School Libraries in 2022

According to a new analysis from the American Library Association (ALA) issued on Thursday, there will be a record number of attempted book bans and limitations in public and school libraries in 2022. 

The ALA recorded more than 1,200 challenges in 2022, nearly double the previous year, and by far the highest number since the organization started compiling statistics 20 years ago.

The study released on Thursday details the rise in issues and their evolving form. In the past, complaints often involved parents and other community members and were accompanied by references to a specific book. These days, removal petitions are frequent for numerous children. 

They are coordinated by national organizations like the conservative Mothers for Liberty, whose goal is to "unify, educate, and empower parents to protect their parental rights at all levels of government."

Last year, almost 2,500 distinct novels were criticized, compared to 1,858 in 2021 and just 566 in 2019. Several instances, a single complaint was used to contest hundreds of volumes. The ALA concedes that the actual numbers might be far higher and relies on its conclusions from media reports and voluntarily submitted library data.

"A book challenge is a request that a book be taken out of the library's inventory so that no one else may read it. Most frequently, we observe that these issues are brought about by organized censorship groups that attend local library board meetings and call for removing a lengthy list of books they promote on social media," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom.

According to the organization, organized censorship groups that develop lists of books to challenge "contributed considerably" to the rise. Most challenges aimed to prohibit many works at once, and 40% of the challenged publications were part of cases comprising 100 or more volumes.

Among the targeted books and resources, 58% were found in school or classroom libraries or curricula. The final round of book challenges focused on materials found in public libraries. Most challenged books were authored by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.

"The past two years have been draining, terrifying, and revolting," said Caldwell-Stone. According to her statement in the news release, the book challenges "seek to stifle the voices" of such writers.

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