According to the American Library Association website, “A [book] challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.”
In 2016, 323 book challenges were recorded in the United States by the American Library Association. (It is worth noting that many challenges go unreported.) The majority of challenges occurred against materials found in public and school libraries, and were most commonly brought by parents and public library users. The most common reasons for book challenges are: sexually explicit subject matter, offensive language, and religious viewpoint. ALA does not track international challenges, but history records many instances in which books have been censored and/or suppressed based on political viewpoint and other reasons deemed offensive to the state or nation.
In conjunction with Banned Books Week 2017 and through the month of October/beginning of November, we’ve provided a selection of fiction titles that have been reported as challenged and/or banned by public libraries, school libraries, and countries. Also included are some nonfiction titles on censorship topics. Stop by to take a look at the books on display or view them online (and place holds on anything you’d like to check out). Books on display each contain a banned-books-themed bookmark, which readers are welcome to keep. We’ve also made some buttons which are free for the taking.
If you use our OverDrive Downloadable Books , a list of banned and challenged books appears when you log into that collection.
Exercise your freedom to seek and express ideas- read a banned book!