More Book Bans Sought in 2021 Than Any Other Point in Past 20 Years, Group Says

The findings of a library organization, published Monday, show that right-wing groups and parents across America are trying to limit access to books.

The American Library Association (ALA) has been tracking such challenges over 20 years. In 2021, there were more than 700 challenges. These attempts to ban books were directed at books that depicted the lives or were written by Black or LGBTQ people.

“ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals,” the organization said in a press release published on Monday.

ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong said in a statement that parents should involve themselves in what books their children decide or want to read – but restricting other parents’ rights to do the same can harm children.

“We support individual parents’ choices concerning their child’s reading and believe that parents should not have those choices dictated by others,” Wong said. “Young people need to have access to a variety of books from which they can learn about different perspectives.”

“Libraries remain ready to do what we always have: make knowledge and ideas available so people are free to choose what to read,” Wong added.

The overwhelming majority of Americans are against book bans. A poll by the ALA, published last month, showed that the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose book bans. 71 percent of U.S. voters opposed efforts to remove booksSchools, libraries, and universities. The poll revealed that 70% of Republican respondents agreed that book bans were harmful.

However, conservative parents and groups have been vocal in pushing for restrictions on access to books that they find objectionable. The push to politicize Black and LGBTQ people’s existence This is evidence ofRight-wing fascism is growing

These efforts are important Many librarians across the country have opposed them. Some have ignored requests from lawmakers to compile titles for them that could contain material that they object to, limiting these politicians’ abilities to use such books to make political grandstanding gestures that are meant to appeal to bigoted constituents.

Students also oppose attempts to ban them reading books that the far right would like banned. For instance, Texas schools have banned students from reading certain books. Students have formed book clubs that highlight banned titles.. Texan students have noted the hypocrisy of trying to ban books, as some of the reasons given for banning books about Black or LGBTQ people aren’t also applied to books with white or heterosexual characters.

Book titles with “heterosexual scenes, heterosexual ideas” were permissible, “but the second something turns slightly, slightly queer, slightly homosexual, it discomforts them,” one student, Maghan Sadeghi, a senior at a high school outside of Houston, said to The Texas Tribune in early March.

“​​Why do we have to remove books about Black people and Asian Americans simply for the sake of white people’s comfort?” Sadeghi added.