A new report shows that book ban attempts grew by four-fold in the US. People are trying to ban books from the American libraries and schools more than before. The American Library Association (ALA) reports on the state of America’s libraries. In 2021, there were 729 challenges to the books and activities taking place in libraries. In the US, there are more than 100,000 libraries across the country, 9,000 of which are public libraries. A total of 1,597 individual books were challenged by politicians, school boards, parents, political groups, elected officials and more.
Lawmakers are passing laws that ban discussing or teaching kids about LGBTQ+ history or so-called Critical Race Theory. In Florida, a bill critics refer to as the Don’t Say Gay bill would ban any discussion of LGBTQ+ identities in classrooms from grades kindergarten through third grade, including teachers talking about their lives, or kids mentioning their parents. In dozens of states across the country, Critical Race Theory has been banned from classrooms as well.
A survey of 715 respondents underline that the book ban challenges were mostly initiated by parents or patrons of the library. 39% were parents, 24% were patrons, 18% were board or administration members, 10% were political or religious groups, 6% were librarians or teachers, 2% were elected officials, and 1% were students.
The most common target of book banners are books, graphic novels, and textbooks (82% of ban attempts). A tiny percentage of ban attempts came for programs run in libraries, displays or exhibits, films, or other such as databases, magazines, social media, student publications and so on.
Source: press release, American Library Association.