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National Library Week kicks off with the State of America’s Libraries Report, the annual “10 Most Contested Books” list, and a new campaign to fight book bans

Top 700 book challenges – most since 2000

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) kicks off National Library Week with the release of its State of America’s Libraries report, highlighting the challenges America’s libraries have faced in the second year of the pandemic – as well as how they have innovated to meet the needs of their communities.

Library staff in every state have faced an unprecedented number of attempted book bans. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to materials and services from libraries, schools, and universities in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 challenges or removals of individual books. Most of the targeted books were by or about black or LGBTQIA+ people.

“The 729 challenges tracked by the ALA represent the highest number of book ban attempts since we began compiling these lists 20 years ago,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty.” Wong. “We support parents’ individual choices regarding their child’s reading and believe that parents should not have those choices dictated by others. Young people should have access to a variety of books from which they can discover different perspectives. So despite this organized effort to ban books, libraries stand ready to do what we have always done: make knowledge and ideas available so that people are free to choose what to read. »

Here are the 10 most disputed books of 2021:

  1. “Gender Queer”, by Maia Kobabe
    Reasons: banned, challenged and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images.
  1. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered sexually explicit.
  1. “Not All Boys Are Blue”, by George M. Johnson
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity and because it was considered sexually explicit.
  1. “Out of Darkness”, by Ashley Hope Perez
    Reasons: Banned, challenged and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered sexually explicit.
  1. “The Hate You Give”, by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for blasphemy, violence and because it was meant to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda.
  1. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a pejorative term.
  1. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”, by Jesse Andrews
    Reasons: Prohibited and contested because considered sexually explicit and degrading for women.
  1. “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit.
  1. “This book is gay”, by Juno Dawson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, moved and restricted for providing sex education and LGBTQIA+ content.
  1. “Beyond Magenta” by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered sexually explicit.

A recent poll shows seven in 10 voters oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries, including majorities of voters from all parties. Three-quarters of parents of public school children (74%) express a high degree of trust in school librarians to make good decisions about what books to make available to children, and when asked about the types of specific books that have been given special attention. local debates, large majorities say for everyone that they should be available in school libraries according to age.

The new poll is the first to look at the issue of book bans through the lens of public and school libraries. He also found an almost universal high regard for librarians and recognition of the essential role that public and school libraries play in their communities.

In response to rising book challenges and other efforts to suppress access to information, ALA will launch Unite Against Book Bans, a national initiative to empower readers around the world to s unite in the fight against censorship. More information is available at uniteagainstbookbans.org.

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the leading national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the role of the library in improving learning and access to information for all.

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