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ENG 112: Banned and Challenged Books

This Research Guide provides information about locating and researching the topic of banned and challenged books.

Word cloud that lists reasons for challenges. Examples: anti-police, racial slurs, LGBTQIA, profanity, etc.

Use the resources listed in this guide to begin your research about banned and challenged books. Pay close attention to the search tips and examples provided on each page. They will help make your research more successful. If you are having trouble, ask a librarian for help.

Challenged vs. Banned Books

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.  From ALA's "About Book Bans and Challenges"

Censorship By the Numbers

Books and Beyond

The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom traced 156 challenges in 2020. Here's the breakdown:

  • 73% Books, graphic novels
  • 14% Programs, meeting rooms
  • 3% Social media
  • 2% Displays, photos
  • 1% Films
  • 7% Other*

*Includes filtering, access, databases, magazines, online resources, legislation

Who Initiates Challenges?

Who Initiates Challenges?

  • 50% Parents
  • 20% Patrons
  • 11% Board/administration
  • 9% Political/religious groups
  • 5% Librarians/teachers
  • 4% Elected officials
  • 1% Students

Statistics based on 147 responses.

Where Do Challenges Take Place?

Where Do Challenges Take Place?

  • 43% Public libraries
  • 38% Schools
  • 15% School libraries
  • 2% Academia
  • 2% Other

Statistics based on 156 responses.