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Banned Books: Challenges vs. Bans

According to the American Library Association, a challenged book is a book that an individual or individuals is attempting to remove or restrict access to in a library (American Library Association, 2016). Alternatively, a banned book is a book that is completely removed from a library after it has been challenged (American Library Association, 2016). Both the challenging of books and the banning of books are examples of censorship that can thwart the intellectual freedom of individuals.

Books Behind Bars | American Experience | Official Site | PBS


American Library Association. (2016). Banned Book FAQ. ALA. 

Mount, J. (2017). Illustration. PBS.

Why are Books Challenged?

Books are challenged for a variety of different reasons by a variety of different people. One reason people may challenge a book is because it may stand in contrast to what they believe is appropriate ("Banned Book Facts," 2016). This can range in topics about race, religion, sexuality, and more. Parents of school-aged children are the most likely group to challenge books in a library setting.



American Library Association. (2016). Banned Book FAQ. ALA. 

American Library Association. (2013). Free Downloads. ALA.

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week Official Words Have Power Facebook Header

"Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read... [I]t 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," (American Library Association, 2020)

In 2023, Banned Books week will take place from October 1, 2023 through October 7, 2023.

American Library Association. (2020). Banned Book Press Kit. ALA.