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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"

Top Ten Challenged Books for 2023

Where do Challenges Take Place?

  • 48% Public Libraries
  • 41% School Libraries
  • 10% Schools
  • 1% Higher education libraries and other institutions

Who Initiates Attempts to Censor Books?

17% Political/Religious Groups

15% Board/Administration

3% Librarians/Teachers

3% Elected Officials

4% Other (includes non-custodial relatives, nonresidents, community members without library cards, etc.)

*Statistics based on 1207 cases with known initiators

Number of Unique Titles Challenged by Year

Censorship on the Rise:

The unparalleled number of  reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubled the number reported in 2021. The number of unique titles targeted marked a 38% increase over 2021.

Books & Beyond

ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 1269 challenges in 2022. Here's the breakdown:

  • 82% Books, graphic novels, and textbooks
  • 6% Displays and exhibits
  • 4% Programs and meeting rooms
  • 1% Films
  • 7% Other (includes filtering, access, databases, magazines, online resources, artwork, social media, music, pamphlets, student publications, and reading lists)