This week, the American Library Association (ALA) today released new data documenting 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. 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.
Of the reported book challenges, 58% targeted books and materials in school libraries, classroom libraries, or school curricula; 41% of book challenges targeted materials in public libraries.
The prevalent use of lists of books compiled by organized censorship groups contributed significantly to the skyrocketing number of challenges and the frequency with which each title was challenged. 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. Prior to 2021, the vast majority of challenges to library resources only sought to remove or restrict access to a single book.
ALA will unveil its highly anticipated list of the top 10 most challenged books in the U.S. 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.