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Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

SAN ANTONIO — Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read, brought to you by the San Antonio Public Library. 

It highlights the value of free and open access to information. 

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Of the 1597 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books

  1. Gender Queer 
  2. Lawn Boy
  3. All Boys Aren't Blue
  4. Out of Darkness
  5. The Hate U Give
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
  7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
  8. The Bluest Eye
  9. This Book is Gay
  10. Beyond Magenta 
Credit: San Antonio Public Library
Top Ten Banned Books From 2021

While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

"Banned Books Week is more pertinent than ever, given the number of recent challenges to books on school reading lists and in school libraries. In this episode, Jeannette Davies of the San Antonio Public Library interviews Dr. Mark Bayer, chair of the English department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Carrie Damon, Northside ISD middle school librarian, about the history of banned books and why ensuring the freedom to read is so vital. From Ulysses to The Hate U Give, often the books that are the most meaningful are the ones that draw the most ire."

To view books that have been challenged and why, go to ALA's Frequently challenged books of the 21st century.

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