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Banned Books Week

This guide details Banned Books Week and provides information about censorship and book challenges.

Banned Books

Censorship and banned books are a primary concern of libraries and librarians. 

According to item III. of the Library Bill of Rights: "III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment."

But book challenges and book bans are on the rise in the United States including in California. 

Most of the time book challenges are issued by concerned parents or patrons of the library - but sometimes large religious or political organizations will attempt to ban dozens of books at a time. Often times these organizations provide long lists of books to members of their community and ask members to issue challenges at their local library. This means many times the challengers have not actually reviewed the titles themselves. 

It's not just books that are challenged. Libraries remain a contested public space and often the use of that space is challenged.

Reasons that books are challenged can vary, but recently there has been an increase of challenges for LGBTQIA+ material that is deemed inappropriate for children. Challenged material also often features people of color and their lived experiences. Often times when books are challenged, inappropriate rhetoric is used that makes no distinction between picture books, juvenile literature, young adult literature, and adult literature, implying that young children have access to graphic, age-inappropriate material.

Take a look at the titles below. Have you read a book that has been challenged or banned?