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Banned Books


Every year there are hundreds of attempts to remove books from American bookstores, libraries, and schools. These challenges and the books restricted or banned from readers results in thousands of lost opportunities to explore ideas that fuel better understanding of the world around us. Words have immense power and access to diverse ideas makes all of us more powerful. Celebrate the freedom to read by reading your favorite banned book during Banned Books Week October 1-7, 2023.

The video below puts book banning into historical context and explains the implications of book banning today. 


Banned vs. Challenged Books

challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. 

banning is the actual removal of those materials. 


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.  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.

Why Are Books Banned?

Censorship Trends


A line graph displaying the Number of Attempts to Ban or Restrict Library Materials in the U.S by Year. The graph maps five figures: 458 attempts in 2003, 464 attempts in 2012, 156 attempts in 2020, 729 attempts in 2021, and 1,268 attempts in 2022. The background image is of the side of several books seen from above. The ALA logo is in the top right.A line graph displaying the Number of Unique Titles Challenged by Year in the U.S. The graph maps seven figures: 378 unique titles in 2000, 259 unique titles in 2005, 262 unique titles in 2010, 190 unique titles in 2015, 223 unique titles in 2020, 1,858 unique titles in 2021, and 2,571 unique titles in 2022. The background image is of the side of several books seen from above. The ALA logo is in the top right.

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.