The American Library Association (ALA) guides libraries by providing guidelines and statements to inform libraries of their duties to the public. This includes the Library Bill of Rights, which aims to protect everyone’s constitutional freedom to read. The first three rights focus exclusively on inclusion of materials:
- Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
- Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
- Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
To further promote library values against censorship, Banned Books Week was created in 1982 to highlight and celebrate free and open access to information.
“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community—librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types—in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” – The American Library Association
Celebrate Banned Books Week with us this year by checking out some of the most banned books from 2021 and of all time listed below. You can also learn more about the ALA's advocacy efforts throughout the United States in support of the freedom to read.
This list includes the most banned adult books from 2021 followed by a selection of long-challenged or banned books.