Texas named as state with the most book bans in 2022, report shows
A new report from the American Library Association (ALA) has found that Texas made more attempts than any other US state to ban or restrict books in 2022.
The ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom documented a total of 1,269 attempts to censor or ban 2,571 titles last year alone.
Of those, Texas was responsible for 93 attempts to restrict over 2,300 titles.
This is the result of the growing book ban movement in the United States, led by conservative politicians and organisations.
In most cases, books under threat of being banned explore themes of LGBTQ+ or race relations.
While parents took the lead with the most attempts to ban books (30 per cent), they were followed closely by politicla and religious groups (17 per cent).
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Commenting on the ALA’s findings, Shirley Robinson of the Texas Library Association said, per The Guardian: “Book challenges and censorship are nothing new.
“Libraries have faced these issues as long as libraries have been in existence. But the volume of challenges, and the vitriol against librarians, is unprecedented.
“Libraries are seeing multiple challenges, sometimes as many as 100, being brought forth. And often, people are not complaining about books they or their children have actually read, they are seeing books mentioned on the news or on social media and weighing in with complaints.”
Meanwhile, the director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, noted that more and more of these book ban attempts are coming from “organised censorship groups that target local library board meetings.”
She added that the aim of these groups is to “suppress the voices of those traditionally excluded from our nation’s conversations, such as people in the LGBTQIA+ community or people of colour.”
The ALA’s findings come shortly after a Senate hearing at Capitol Hill on book bans and censorship.
During the hearing, Republican representatives argued that certain titles should be removed from schools and libraries and that parents were within their rights to demand these removals, while Democratic representatives argued that this would be an extreme case of censorship.
In an effort to make his point, Louisiana senator John Kennedy read aloud a passage from the second-most banned book in the United States, All Boys Aren’t Blue – a move that made the senator go viral online.
After reading out the explicit passage, which details a scene of sexual assault, as well as a similar passage from the country’s most-banned book Gender Queer, Kennedy was told by Democratic representatives that it wasn’t up to parents to decide what children outside of their family could and couldn’t read.
Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois’s secretary of state and state librarian noted that, while Kennedy’s dramatic reading was “disturbing, especially coming out of your mouth”, it wasn’t a valid argument in favour of parents being able to ban books from schools.
“Of course, there are books that are not age-appropriate. But that’s what being a parent is all about – doing your best to keep an eye on what your children read and what they consume,” Giannoulias told the Senate
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