Data from the American Library Association released on Thursday shows that requests to have books taken off US shelves reached a record high in 2022, with the majority of the works “targeted for suppression” being those that dealt with minorities and LGBTQ problems.
According to the NGO, a total of 1,269 individual “challenges” – requests to censor or take away one or more books were submitted in the US last year.
The group, which started keeping track of such statistics in 2003, stated that this broke the previous record of 729 set a year earlier.
“Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color,” the ALA said.
“Overwhelmingly, we’re seeing these challenges come from organized censorship groups that target local library board meetings to demand removal of a long list of books they share on social media,” Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in a statement.
Almost 2,500 specific works were “targeted for censoring” in 2018, up from about 1,900 in 2021, according to the American Library Association.
The bulk (86%) of the books were for children, and more than half (58%) were taught at or available in schools.
“Their aim is to suppress the voices of those traditionally excluded from our nation’s conversations, such as people in the LGBTQIA+ community or people of color.”
Any effort at a ban was described by Caldwell-Stone as “a direct attack on every person’s constitutionally protected right to freely select the books they read and the ideas they investigate.”
US conservative leaders have redoubled their efforts to combat teachings that they claim are advancing a so-called progressive agenda, particularly with regard to race and gender identity.
Black American author Toni Morrison’s iconic book “Beloved” has been under a lot of criticism lately.
The 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, which tells the tale of a free Black woman who is imprisoned by the memories of her past as a former slave, tackles the damaging and painful legacy of slavery.