۰̨ͼ

۰̨ͼ reports record number of unique book titles challenged in 2023

For Immediate Release
Thu, 03/14/2024

Contact:

Raymond Garcia

Communications Specialist

Communications, Marketing & Media Relations Office

cmomedia@ala.org

Public Libraries Saw 92 Percent Increase In Number of Titles Targeted for Censorship Over The Previous Year

CHICAGO — The number of titles targeted for censorship surged 65 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, reaching the highest levels ever documented by the ۰̨ͼ (ALA). The new numbers released today show efforts to censor 4,240 unique book titles* in schools and libraries. This tops the previous high from 2022, when 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented 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 percent over the previous year; school libraries saw an 11 percent increase.
  • 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 percent 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.

“The reports from librarians and educators in the field make it clear that the organized campaigns to ban books aren’t over, and that we must all stand together to preserve our right to choose what we read,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “Each demand to ban a book is a demand to deny each person’s constitutionally protected right to choose and read books that raise important issues and lift up the voices of those who are often silenced. By joining initiatives like Unite Against Book Bans and other organizations that support libraries and schools, we can end this attack on essential community institutions and our civil liberties."

۰̨ͼwill unveil its highly anticipated list of the top 10 most challenged books in the U.S. on Monday, April 8, which is Right to Read Day of National Library Week, along with its full State of America's Libraries Report.

"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,” said ۰̨ͼPresident Emily Drabinski. “Libraries are vital institutions to each and every community in this country, and library professionals, who have dedicated their lives to protecting our right to read, are facing threats to their employment and well-being."

In response to the surge of book challenges and efforts to restrict access to information, ۰̨ͼlaunched, a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.The coalition will mark its second anniversary during National Library Week.

For more information about ۰̨ͼand its intellectual freedom efforts, visit. For a breakdown for censorship challenges by state visit .

* ۰̨ͼcompiles data on book challenges from reports filed with its Office for Intellectual Freedom by library professionals in the field and from news stories published throughout the United States. Because many book challenges are not reported to the ۰̨ͼor covered by the press, the 2023 data compiled by ۰̨ͼrepresents only a snapshot of book censorship throughout the year. A challenge to a book may be resolved in favor of retaining the book in the collection, or it can result in a book being restricted or withdrawn from the library.

About the ۰̨ͼ
The ۰̨ͼ (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ۰̨ͼhas been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit.