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National Library Week 2024

This guide celebrates and highlights National Library Week.

Banned and Challenged Books

What is the difference between a banned book and a challenged book? 

According to the American Library Association:

  • Challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. 
  • Banning is the removal of those materials. 

Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

Banned Books Week is nationally celebrated annually in either September or October. Last year, it was celebrated from October 1-7, 2023.  This week highlights the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.

Intellectual Freedom

American Library Association defines intellectual freedom as the following:

Intellectual freedom is the right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Intellectual freedom is one of the core values of the library profession; it promotes access to information and guides the defense against censorship.

When a book is banned or challenged, intellectual freedom gets challenged and these issues will occur: censorship and challenging the First Amendment.  

  • Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that some individuals, groups, or government officials find objectionable or dangerous. 
  • The First Amendment gives everyone residing in the United States the right to hear all sides of every issue and to make their own judgments about those issues without government interference or limitations. It allows individuals to speak, publish, read and view what they wish, worship (or not worship) as they wish, associate with whomever they choose, and gather together to ask the government to make changes in the law or to correct the wrongs in society.
  • The First Amendment: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petition in the Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We see this trend of banning, challenging, and censoring books today happening in schools and libraries across the country.  There is a history of banning, burning, and censoring books

Infographic: Censorship By the Numbers (2022)

Censorship Infographic

Image: Censorship by the Numbers Infographic (2022); This image is created and credited by the American Library Association

Censorship by the Numbers 2-page PDF

Censorship by the Numbers PNG

Infographic: Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022

Image: Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022 Infographic; This image is created and credited by the American Library Association

Censorship by the Numbers 2-page PDF

Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022 PNG