Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to
read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden
surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and
libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it
highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned
Books Week brings 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. Download the 2022 Banned Books Field Report.
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. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. The Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022 are:
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
- October 6th: Banned Books Week Panel - This Banned Books Week, the Library will host a discussion panel exploring the uptick and affects of censorship in our schools and libraries. Moderated by local author and reporter Wallace Baine, panelists include:
- Faris Sabbah, Superintendent of the County Office of Education
- Cynthia Lewis, Professor of Education, UCSC
- Shannon Tracy, Harbor High School Librarian
- Scarlet Herr, Harbor High School Student
- Zak Keith, UCSC PhD Candidate & The Diversity Center Youth Program Facilitator
Learn more here
There are many organizations working to fight censorship, protect intellectual freedom, and preserve our right to read and think. Learn more and get involved with these organizations:
- Unite Against Book Bans has a toolkit and a report of the censorship landscape shaping up in 2023. Alarming stuff.
- The American Booksellers Association (ABA) has also created a Right to Read Toolkit.
- The Freedom to Read Foundation protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect - and individuals to access - information through advocacy, education, and litigation.
- Fight for the First is a petition website made just for book challenges. Campaigns on Fight for the First will allow you to take action against book bans in your community and gain direct support from EveryLibrary.
- The ACLU works in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
- The Banned Books Week website is the one-stop-shop for all things Banned Books Week.
- Tell Congress to Stand with School Libraries! The Right to Read Act will provide more resources so that every child has access to an effective school library staffed by a certified school librarian. It will ensure that teachers and librarians are legally protected for doing their jobs. We need your member of Congress to co-sponsor this important school libraries bill!
Read recent articles chronicling the uptick in challenges, bans, and the threat to Libraries and Schools here.
Banned Books & Censorhip Stats
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