Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Freedom to Read: Book Challenges and Bans in the U.S.

This guide provides an overview of current efforts to challenge or ban books in the U.S. and includes information about Banned Books Week and how to fight library censorship.

Book Bans and Challenges Across the U.S.

The American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons. (ALA Banned Books Week)

What’s the difference between a challenge and a banning? 

“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. 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.” (ALA About Banned & Challenged Books)  

Freedom to Read (see full Freedom to Read statement)

"Libraries manifest the promises of the First Amendment by making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas, so that every person has the opportunity to freely read and consider information and ideas, regardless of their content or the viewpoint of the author. This requires the professional expertise of librarians who work in partnership with their communities to curate collections that serve the information needs of all their users." (ALA joint statement, Nov. 29, 2021)

Wichita State University Libraries, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0068 | Phone: (316) 978-3481 | Comments/Suggestions | Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Channel Federal Depository Library Program HathiTrust Digital Library Patent and Trademark Resources Centers