The Frightening Reason Why Books Are Being Banned Nationwide

Library books whose subjects relate directly to marginalized communities are being banned in repeated attempts to censor the content that libraries can house.

By Ryan Clancy | Published

With record numbers of library books being banned this year, people have started to wonder why? Libraries have banned a record number of books throughout schools, universities, and public libraries, eight months into 2022. This information is according to the American Library Association (ALA) data.

Who are the American Library Association?

The American Library Association (ALA) is a national organization providing resources for library and information professionals. Through this organization, they can support their communities through a range of programs and services centered on books and information. They have been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, supporting the librarians and the library’s role in enhanced learning and ensuring access to books for all.

Between the start of January and the end of August, the American Library Association documented 681 attempts to ban multiple books, with over 1,651 titles targeted. This is compared to the 729 attempts to censor library books, targeting 1,597 books, in 2021. This ban in 2021 represented the highest number of book bans in 20 years, until this year when the number of book bans exceeded it again.

ALA President Speaks Out

What is the reason for the high number of book bans? The American Library Association president, Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, believes it is because of people trying to silence marginalized communities or historically underrepresented voices and deprive people of a chance to explore a point of view beyond our personal experience.

She is quoted saying, “Though, naturally, we want to protect young people from some of life’s more difficult realities, banning certain books denies young people resources that can help them deal with the challenges that confront them. Efforts to censor entire categories of books reflecting certain voices aren’t about kids: it’s about politics. Organizations with a political agenda are spreading lists of books they don’t like.”

Librarians across America are trusted to make their own decisions and provide people with various books from different genres and perspectives. American Library Association and various other charities are asking people to stand up against censorship in their new campaign, ‘Unite against Book Bans.’

Banned Books Week

This week throughout America is ‘Banned Books Week,’ September 18th to 24th, where libraries will highlight the vast number of censored books from this year. There will also be various events where authors, librarians, and scholars can share their perspectives on censorship and promote the resources available to support library and university workers.

In our world, so much information, both actual and untrue, is available at our fingertips. To hear that one of our oldest institutions, one of the few places left where people aren’t expected to spend money, is being targeted and potentially used to censor minorities and send a false message is unsettling. It misses the point of what libraries and educational resources are used for. It is for ordinary people to open their minds and expand their horizons. Please do not ruin it for political gain.