September 18, 2022 03:31 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
Every year at this time, I join with the American Library Association (ALA) in celebrating Banned Books Week. This year, the actual celebration takes place September 18-24, so this post will be right on time for that. I come to the celebration this year, both angered and with a heavy heart, because 2021 (the most recent year for which we have data) has been the worst year for book bans/challenges on record since the ALA started tracking this data. During 2021, book bans/challenges increased exponentially over the previous year. In 2020, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, during which 273 books were targeted. In 2021, those number alarmingly jumped to 729 challenges with 1597 books being targeted. That’s a 367% increase in challenges and a 485% increase in books being targeted, which is staggering. And that’s just the ones that are reported. In fact, surveys indicate that 82%-97% of book challenges remain unreported and receive no media attention. All this means that there could be thousands more books being challenged or banned that we don’t even know about, which saddens, angers, and appalls a book-lover like myself.