If you follow the news at all, you know that the number of attempts to remove certain books from libraries has exploded this past year.
Today (April 4), the American Library Association released its list of the Most Challenged Books of 2021.
According to ALA, the number of reported challenges in 2021 doubled the number of challenges in 2020. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials in 2021. A total of 1,597 books were targeted, the majority of them for reasons related to race, gender or gender identity.
Why is this a problem? One of the most basic principles of libraries and librarianship is the commitment to intellectual freedom – “the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction,” according to the ALA.
Here at NCW Libraries, we stand solidly against censorship — the suppression of ideas and information that certain individuals, groups or government officials find objectionable or dangerous.
“As libraries across the country are addressing the effects of historic inequality and systemic racism on library users, especially people of color and those who belong to historically marginalized and minority communities, we remain committed to developing collections that allow every person to see themselves in our library resources and provide a means to build understanding among all users,” said Barbara Walters,Executive Director of NCW Libraries. “We support freedom of speech and the right of every person to access knowledge.”
What can you do? Pay attention! Support intellectual freedom – that means freedom for you to watch, read and listen to what you want and for others to read, listen to or watch things you may not like!
Read banned books!
Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021
- Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
- This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
- Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.