On March 22, the American Library Association (ALA) released new data documenting 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022the highest number of attempted book bans since the ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago, per a press release.
The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 challenges reported in 2021.
A record 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021. Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.
Interestingly, of the overall number of books challenged, 90% were part of attempts to censor multiple titles. Of the books challenged, 40% were in cases involving 100 or more books.
And the censorship battles continue. Michigan Advance noted that Maia Kobabe's 2019 book Gender Queer: A Memoirwhich has constantly been targeted by conservativesis the subject of controversy at Lapeer District Library. Republican Lapeer County Prosecutor John Miller has reportedly threatened to charge District Library Director Amy Churchill with a four-year felony if the book was not removed from the library's collection. (Miller later contended that Bridge Michigan took his words out of context.)
According to the Los Angeles Times, Gender Queer has been banned in at least four dozen school districts in Florida, Texas, Michigan, Utah and other statesand that was in December 2022.
The ALA will unveil its list of the top 10 most challenged books in the country on Monday, April 24, during National Library Week, along with its full State of America's Libraries Report. The theme of National Library Week 2023, "There's More to the Story," focuses on the essential services and programming that libraries offer through and beyond books.
The full ALA press release is at https://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2023/03/record-book-bans-2022.