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Book banning is on a record-high trajectory for 2022: report

Efforts to ban books in the U.S. are on the rise for 2022, according to a new report from the American Library Association (ALA).

The ALA released preliminary data on Friday that revealed total book challenges in 2022 are expected to exceed record numbers in 2021.

The organization documented 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources between Jan. 1, 2022 and Aug. 31, 2022.

In 2021, there were 729 total attempts to censor library resources, which set a record number in ALA’s more than 20-year history of compiling this data.

A total of 1,651 unique titles have been targeted so far in 2022 compared to 1,597 titles in 2021.

More than 70% of the 681 attempts this year targeted multiple titles, while most past efforts only sought out the ban of singular books.

The news was released ahead of Banned Books Week, which began on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Libraries across the country will highlight this increase in censorship with various programming, the ALA said. 

Amanda Darrow, director of youth, family and education programs at the Utah Pride Center, poses with books that have been the subject of complaints from parents in recent weeks on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Salt Lake City.
Some of the most targeted books include “Gender Queer,” and “Lawn Boy,” stories that explore sexual identity.
AP/Rick Bowmer

It will “bring together authors, librarians and scholars to share perspectives on censorship and resources to support library workers” during the week.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom director Deborah Caldwell-Stone told the Associated Press that criticism largely surrounds books on LGBTQ subjects, as well as books on racism, such as “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas.

Some of the most targeted books include Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir about sexual identity, “Gender Queer,” and Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” a coming-of-age novel narrated by a young gay man, as mentioned in an April report, according to the AP. 

Banned books are visible at the Central Library, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system, in New York City on Thursday, July 7, 2022.
A total of 1,651 unique titles have been targeted so far in 2022.
AP/Ted Shaffrey

ALA President Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada wrote in a statement that these heightened numbers reflect national efforts to “silence marginalized or historically underrepresented voices and deprive all of us — young people, in particular — of the chance to explore a world beyond the confines of personal experience.”

“Though it’s natural that we want to protect young people from some of life’s more difficult realities, the truth is that banning books does nothing to protect them from dealing with tough issues,” she said.

“Instead, it denies young people resources that can help them deal with the challenges that confront them.”

“Library professionals trust individuals to make their own decisions about what they read and believe.”

Fox News Digital reached out to The American Library Association for comment but did not hear back by publication time.

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