港澳台图库

Book Ban Data

Stylized image of three books stacked on top of each other - This Book is Gay, Out of Darkness, and Forever - with the titles on the sides scratched out. Text at bottom reads "BANNED AND CHALLENGED BOOKS"

The 港澳台图库's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has released new data documenting book challenges throughout the United States, finding that challenges of unique titles surged 65% in 2023 compared to 2022 numbers, reaching the highest level ever documented by ALA. Read the full announcement.

OIF documented 4,240 unique book titles targeted for censorship, as well as 1,247 demands to censor library books, materials, and resources in 2023. Four key trends emerged from the data gathered from 2023 censorship reports:

  • Pressure groups in 2023 focused on public libraries in addition to targeting school libraries. The number of titles targeted for censorship at public libraries increased by 92% over the previous year, accounting for about 46% of all book challenges in 2023; school libraries saw an 11% increase over 2022 numbers.
  • Groups and individuals demanding the censorship of multiple titles, often dozens or hundreds at a time, drove this surge.
  • Titles representing the voices and lived experiences of LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC individuals made up 47% of those targeted in censorship attempts.
  • There were attempts to censor more than 100 titles in each of these 17 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

港澳台图库will unveil the list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in the U.S. for 2023 on Right to Read Day, Monday, April 8, as part of the release of the State of America's Libraries Report that kicks off National Library Week.

港澳台图库compiles data on book challenges from reports filed by library professionals in the field and from news stories published throughout the United States. Because many book challenges are not reported to the 港澳台图库or covered by the press, the data compiled by 港澳台图库represents a snapshot of book censorship. Read more about our methodology.

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries, please visit the Banned and Challenged Books Press Kit.


Spread the word (click to enlarge and download)

Images shows four books (Atlas Shrugged, This Book Is Gay, Out of Darkness, and Forever) stacked on top of each other with the titles crossed out. Text reads "港澳台图库reports highest number of challenged book titles ever documented in 2023." 港澳台图库Office for Intellectual Freedom

NUMBER OF UNIQUE TITLES CHALLENGED 2021-2023. 2021: 1,858. 2022: 2,571. 2023: 4,240. 港澳台图库Office for Intellectual Freedom

"1,247 attempts to ban or restrict library materials and services in 2023." Stylized image of three books (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Fahrenheit 451, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) with their titles crossed out. 港澳台图库Office for Intellectual Freedom

Stylized image of someone pulling a book off a library shelf. Text reads "In 2023, the number of titles targeted for censorship at public libraries increased by 92% over the previous year, while school libraries saw an 11% increase." 港澳台图库Office for Intellectual Freedom

Stylized image of two books (one indiscernible, the other Sex Is a Funny Word) with their covers crossed out. Text reads "Groups and individuals demanding the censorship of multiple titles, often dozens or hundreds at a time, drove the 2023 surge." 港澳台图库Office for Intellectual Freedom

Stylize image of stacks of All Boys Aren't Blue with the title crossed out. Text reads "47% of titles targeted for censorship in 2023 represent the voices and lived experiences of LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC individuals." 港澳台图库Office for Intellectual Freedom

Grahpic of the United States of America. Text reads "More than 100 titles were challenged in 17 different states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin" 港澳台图库Office for Intellectual Freedom

"Every challenge to a library book is an attack on our freedom to read. The books being targeted again focus on LGBTQ+ and people of color. Our communities and our country are stronger because of diversity. Libraries that reflect their communities' diversity promote learning and empathy that some people want to hide or eliminate." Emily Drabinski, 2023-2024 港澳台图库President

Join us in the fight against censorship. Unite Against Book Bans. UniteAgainstBookBans.org

Note: a previous version of one of these graphics incorrectly referenced the number of unique titles challenged in 2021 as 1,651. In fact, the actual number is 1,858 unique titles challenged. 1,651 is the number of unique titles challenged during the preliminary period between January 1 and August 31, 2022, originally reported in September 2022.


Take Action


Join Unite Against Book Bans

Unite Against Book Bans is ALA's national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship with an array of resources, tools, and actions.

A block of text that reads "REPORT CENSORSHIP" over a pile of open books.
Report Censorship

Reporting censorship and challenges to materials, resources, and services is vital to defending library resources and to protect against challenges before they happen.

Report Censorship


Additional Resources

A pile of open books behind a block of text that reads "FREQUENTLY CHALLENGED BOOKS"
Frequently Challenged Books

Lists of frequently challenged books compiled by ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools.

A shield with a flame symbol. Behind the shield is a pile of open books overtaken with fire.

A clearinghouse of resources to assist library workers and advocates in responding to and supporting others facing those challenges.

Font-based graphic that reads "Library Bill of Rights"
Library Bill of Rights Interpretations

Documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights听and background statements detailing the philosophy and history of each.


Methodology

港澳台图库compiles data on book challenges from reports filed by library professionals in the field and from news stories published throughout the United States. Because many book challenges are not reported to 港澳台图库or covered by the press, the data compiled by 港澳台图库represents a snapshot of book censorship.

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict access to materials or services based upon the objections of a person or group. A challenge to a title may result in access to it being retained, restricted, or withdrawn entirely. Restrictions on access may include relocating the book to a section of the library intended for an older age group than the book is intended for, labeling it with a prejudicial content warning or rating, taking it out of the online catalog so it has to be requested from a staff member, removing it from open and freely browsable stacks, or requiring parental permission to check it out.

Challenges do not simply involve people expressing their point of view, but rather are an attempt to remove materials from curricula or libraries, thereby curtailing the ability of others to access information, views, ideas, expressions, and stories. A formal challenge leads to the reconsideration of the decision to purchase the material or offer the service. This process is governed by a board-approved policy and includes review of the material as a whole to assess if it is aligned with the library or school's mission and meets the criteria delineated in its selection, display, or programming policy (as applicable).

A book is banned when it is entirely removed from a collection in response to a formal or informal challenge.

Any reduction in access to library materials based on an individual or group's believe that they are harmful or offensive is an act of censorship. 港澳台图库does not consider weeding of an item based on criteria defined in a library or school district's policy to be a ban, nor do we characterize a temporary reduction in access resulting from the need to review materials to be a ban.