Curated by: Kelly A. McCusker
The phrase, "banned or challenged books" can be confusing. Whether the material is restricted for sale based on age groups, erased from curricula by school boards [A Texas book ban is an attack on the freedom to learn], suppressed from library shelves, or made entirely illegal by a country's government, these limitations on the availability of the written work are referred to as bans [Middle Tennessee State University article on Book Banning]. When a formal complaint is brought forward to ban a book in the U.S., this is called a challenge. Challenges most often arise from parents [ALA Banned and Challenged Books Frequent Asked Questions].
Book challenges and bans are not a recent development and are not unique to the United States. Censorship is on the rise worldwide [Censorship on the Rise Worldwide article], from Belarus to China to Brazil. It's also not unique to books - films, news outlets, journals, plays, and more have been challenged or banned. The American Library Association (ALA) works to protect 1st amendment rights by not engaging in book banning. However, libraries cannot own everything, so their collections are tuned to the desired publications of their served population while also creating diverse and inclusive collections. Below, we share a sample of books we have in our collection (along with other resources about banned books) that have been banned or challenged somewhere for some reason.