Libraries and schools across the country are experiencing unprecedented levels of attempts to ban or remove books from their shelves. This Banned Books Week, we’re raising awareness by highlighting attempts to censor library materials, as well as efforts by librarians, parents, students, and concerned citizens to push back against them. This report includes news from Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, and Oklahoma.
Banned Books Week
Actor, activist, and 2023 Banned Books Week Honorary Chair LeVar Burton was a guest on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour on Monday to discuss the book bans and challenges that we’re currently facing in the United States. Burton said that the unprecedented increase in bans and challenges is “alarming,” but it has an upside: It’s forcing us to have a conversation about who we want to be as a nation.
It’s Banned Books Week, when libraries, schools, bookstores, and groups and individuals around the world—including Banned Books Week Honorary Chair LeVar Burton—call attention to censorship and ways to fight it.
The American Library Association (ALA) and Unite Against Book Bans will have a slate of programs, a call to action on Let Freedom Read Day, videos from the Banned Books From the Big Chair read out, and more throughout the week.
On September 20, the American Library Association (ALA) released new preliminary data that documents the continued rise in attempts to censor books and materials in public, school, and academic libraries during the first eight months in 2023. The data shows that, between January 1 and August 31, 2023, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles. The number of unique titles challenged has increased by 20% from the same reporting period in 2022, the year in which the highest number of book challenges occurred since ALA began compiling this data more than 20 years ago.