The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracks attempts to ban or restrict access to books across the United States and to inform the public about censorship efforts in our libraries and schools. Attempts to remove library materials continued during the pandemic, despite many libraries and schools closing or moving their activities and services online.
In 2020, more than 273 books were affected by censorship attempts. Demands to remove books addressing racism and racial justice or those that shared the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color grew in number. At the same time, books addressing themes and issues of concern for LGBTQIA+ people continued to dominate the list.
A 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.
Banned Books Week (September 26 - October 2, 2021) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
The American Library Association tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials or services based on content. Overall, 273 books were targeted. Here are the "Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2020:
- George by Alex Gino
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X, Kendi and Jason Reynolds
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas