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  • Susan Stoderl

Strikes Against Books, Teachers and Librarians

Books, Teachers, Librarians
Banning Books and Prosecuting Teachers and Librarians

Strikes against books, librarians, and teachers threaten literacy.

According to the American Library Association report for 2023, banning and attempted banning of books soared by 40% with 4,240 works in school and public libraries in 2023, compared to 2,571 books banned in 2022. The ALA has recorded a significant increase in book banning over the past twenty years. LGBTQ and racial themes make up about 47% of recent book bans.

The number of separate challenges recorded by the ALA, 1,247, is down by 22 from last year. But efforts to censor dozens or even hundreds of books at a time have surged in Florida and Texas, among other states, reflecting the influence of such conservative organizations.

According to PEN America, here are the states where over 100 books were banned. 

Texas — 438 

Florida — 357

Missouri — 315

Utah — 109

South Carolina — 109

In all twenty-one states were on the banned list, but the next closest number to 109, was 27, and then declined from there.

Public libraries experienced a 92% increase in challenges to books, while school libraries saw an 11% increase.

In addition, state legislatures are attempting to remove legal protections for librarians and educators distributing materials deemed obscene or harmful to minors. Proposed bills permit parents to file lawsuits for distributing harmful materials to minors. Major proponents of these bills include conservative family values groups, conservative Christian legal organizations, and advocacy groups opposed to comprehensive sex education and LGBTQ+ equality.

Where are students supposed to go to get accurate information about those subjects, if not a library? If parents are pushing banning books on those subjects, you can bet they will not talk to their kids about what they need to know either. Again, who loses?


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