Banned Books Week is a weeklong celebration of freedom (f-READ-om??) and a way to highlight current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. Reading is an indispensable tool for intellectual freedom, and this annual event supports the freedom to seek and express ideas - the freedom to read the books that challenge us (even those which may be considered unpopular or uncomfortable). Removing or restricting access to books creates barriers. Books have the power to reach across boundaries - to build connections between readers by allowing us to share our stories with one another.
In conjunction with the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, McGill Library declares this week Freedom to Read Week! This week, let’s talk about how we can all benefit from the American shared freedom to choose and read books for our own interests. To learn more about Banned Books Week, visit the American Library Association's Banned & Challenged Books page.
The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracks any reported attempts to ban books across America. In 2022, OIF documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources! This is the highest number of attempted book bans since the ALA began compiling data about censorship over 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. Censors targeted a record 2,571 unique titles in 2022, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021. Of the reported titles, the vast majority were written by/about members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color.
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.
Statistics courtesy of the American Library Association.
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has been tracking and recording attempts to ban books since 1990. The following list is just a snapshot of the most banned and challenged books. For a more extensive list and some great information, visit the ALA page for more Frequently Challenged Books.