New Book Censorship Map Reveals National Problem

Banned Books Week, Censorship

Have you ever wondered where challenges to books in the United States actually occur? A new book censorship map featured on the site illustrates that censorship efforts take place all across the country. The Google map displays more than 120 book challenges–from Maine to Florida and from Long Island, New York, to San Francisco, California–that have occurred since the beginning of 2007. These challenges represent a small portion of those recorded, and have been culled from cases documented by the Kids’ Right to Read Project, which is sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the American Library Association’s “Books Challenged or Banned in 2007-2008” (pdf) list, by Robert P. Doyle.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom provides confidential support to teachers and librarians and tracks challenges that occur. ALA recorded 513 challenges in 2008 but estimates that this reflects only 20-25% of actual incidents, as most challenges are never reported.

For assistance with challenges to library materials, services, or programs, please contact Angela Maycock, Assistant Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom, 800-545-2433, ext. 4221, or the Office for Intellectual Freedom, 800-545-2433, ext. 4223 or visit the Challenges to Library Materials page on the ALA Web site.

Banned Books Week 2009 runs from September 26-October 3.