“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs.”
- Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
Since 1982, Banned Books Week has put a spotlight on current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. This week is a time for the reading communities across the country to support the freedom to seek and express ideas, as well as draw attention to the harms of censorship.
“From Temecula to Tallahassee, fringe ideologues across the country are attempting to whitewash history and ban books from schools. With this new law, we're cementing California's role as the true freedom state: a place where families—not political fanatics—have the freedom to decide what's right for them.”
- Governor Gavin Newsom on AB 1078, a new California law that bans book bans and textbook censorships in schools.
In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. Of the record 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, most were by or about LGBTQIA+ persons and Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
When we ban books, we're closing off readers to people, places, and perspectives. But when we stand up for stories, we unleash the power that lies inside every book. We liberate the array of voices that need to be heard and the scenes that need to be seen.
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. SCCLD proudly has all 13 copies of the Most Challenged Books of 2022 on our shelves. Check out any of these titles here:
1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
2. All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Reasons: depiction of sexual abuse, claimed to be sexually explicit, EDI content
4. Flamer by Mike Curato Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
5. (TIE) Looking for Alaska by John Green Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content
5. (TIE) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content, depiction of sexual abuse, drugs, profanity
7. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity
9. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit
10. (TIE) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit
10. (TIE) Crank by Ellen Hopkins Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, drugs
10. (TIE) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity
10. (TIE) This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, sex education, claimed to be sexually explicit