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Library Displays: Banned Books 2021

Monthly displays in the library.

Banned books week banner, Books unite us.

"Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us." 

This year's theme is "Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us." Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers. In 2020, 273 books were affected by censorship attempts.

Source Credit:


What is Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week 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 books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.


About Challenges and Bans

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. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Source Credit: "Banned Books Week (September 27-October 3, 2020)", American Library Association, December 11, 2012. (Accessed September 1, 2020)Document ID: be933510-a8c2-4f72-9b65-9a8eb7b89f69


Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020

Top 10 Most Challenged books of 2020. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:      George by Alex Gino     Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”     Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds     Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people     All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely     Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”     Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson     Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity     The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie     Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author     Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin     Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views     To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee     Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience     Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck     Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students     The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison     Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse     The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas     Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

Books and beyond. The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges in 2020. 73% were books and graphic novels. 14% were programs, meeting rooms, 3% social media, 2% Displays and photos. 1% from films and 7% were other.


Challenged Books in Our Collection


Other Challenged Books from Our Collection

Where do Challenges take place? 43% public libraries, 38% schools, 15% school libraries, 2% academia and 2% other.

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Even More Banned Books