American Library Association: Book Bans Accelerating

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tags: censorship, libraries, Book Bans

Attempts to ban books are accelerating across the country at a rate never seen since tracking began more than 20 years ago, according to a new report from the American Library Association.

So far in 2022, there have been attempts to ban or restrict access to 1,651 different titles, the group found, up from challenges to 1,597 books in 2021, the year with the highest number of complaints since the group began documenting book challenges decades ago.

Book banning efforts have grown rapidly in number and become much more organized, divisive and vitriolic over the past two years, splitting communities, causing bitter rifts on school and library boards, and spreading across the country through social media and political campaigns.

Public libraries have been threatened by politicians and community members with a loss of funding for their refusal to remove books. Members of the Proud Boys, an extremist right-wing group, showed up at a school board meeting in Illinois, where book access was on the agenda, and at a drag queen story hour in California. Librarians have been accused of promoting pedophilia. In its recent analysis, the library association cited 27 instances of police reports being filed against library staff over the content of their shelves.

“It represents an escalation, and we’re truly fearful that at some point we will see a librarian arrested for providing constitutionally protected books on disfavored topics,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of the office of intellectual freedom at the library association. “They’re being threatened with prosecution, attacked on social media, harassed for simply doing their jobs by trying to meet the information needs of their communities.”

Read entire article at New York Times