Book ban requests reaches 21-year record, American Library Association says

Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 5:29 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WBNG) -- The American Library Association, or ALA, announced a record-breaking increase in requests for books to be banned or taken off library shelves in the US.

The ALA said it filed more than 1,000 requests to censor library books in 2022. That is a 70% increase compared to the 619 requests from 2021.

The association shared that the average ban request targeted one book but, following the COVID-19 Pandemic the number of books in each challenge increased to an average of six per request in 2021 and seven in 2022.

Since 2016, sexually explicit books and those with LGBTQ+ themes have been among the most challenged titles. Other themes included in challenged books highlight the experiences of people of color.

Tompkins County Public Library Director Leslie Tabor shared the actions it takes when concerns are brought to the library.

“If someone has an issue with what is on our shelves there is a process,” said Tabor. “We have a published collection development plan, we also have a request for reconsideration form that people can fill out. Really, it comes down to talking to people, understanding what their fears and concerns are, helping them understand that diversity and having diverse books on our shelves are better for the community.”

The ALA said in the past, an individual parent may have brought up an objection about a book, but now, they are experiencing organized advocacy groups that demand certain books get banned.