ALA: 2022 Book Challenges on Pace to Break Record-Setting 2021 Numbers

Ahead of Banned Books Week, which begins Sunday, the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom released data on challenges from January to August of this year.


In advance of Banned Books Week, which starts Sunday, the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has released the latest book challenge numbers. Last year set a record number of challenges reported to ALA OIF, and this year is on pace to surpass that number.

“The unprecedented number of challenges we’re seeing already this year reflects coordinated, national efforts to silence marginalized or historically underrepresented voices and deprive all of us – young people, in particular – of the chance to explore a world beyond the confines of personal experience,” ALA President Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada said in a statement.

According to ALA OIF:

“Between January 1 and August 31, 2022, ALA documented 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources in schools, universities, and public libraries, seeking to remove or restrict 1651 different titles. In all of 2021, ALA reported 729 attempts to censor library resources, targeting 1597 books.

"The challenges reported to ALA in 2021 represented the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling these lists more than 20 years ago: eight months into the year, it is clear that book challenges are on track to exceed 2021’s count and the number of titles challenged has already exceeded last year’s total.

"Furthermore, more than 70 percent of the 681 attempts to restrict library resources targeted multiple titles. In the past, most challenges to library resources only sought to remove or restrict a single title.”

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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

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