The number of book bans in US schools and libraries has more than doubled from last year, according to the latest tally from the American Library Association (ALA).
This week, ALA is holding its annual Banned Books Week, from September 18-24, to advocate for open access to information. While in the past bans usually targeted one book at a time, advocacy groups are now going after multiple titles at once, according to the association.
So far this year, ALA has tracked efforts to ban or restrict 1,651 titles, up from 729 in all of 2021. It’s the highest annual number since it started collecting data years ago.
Book bans are popping up across the country, with documented restrictions in at least 32 states. A state-by-state breakdown shows Texas and Florida have banned the most books, according to PEN America, a non-profit that advocates for freedom of expression.
The bans are mostly driven by right-wing political groups, such as Moms for Liberty and No Left Turn in Education. But left-leaning organizations, like We Need Diverse Books and Disrupt Texts, have also sought to remove or revise books taught in K-12 schools.
The majority of banned titles are authored by or about members of the LGBTQ and Black communities. Most banned books include content on race, racism, and sex.
The 2022 book ban list includes titles that have been restricted in previous years. They include The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. But there are also some new additions: Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez.
Take a look at the most targeted books over the past three years: