Banned Books

The what, how, and why of banned books.

What Is a Banned Book?

Censorship Causes Blindness by Antoon Kuper. Used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Considered unfit to read in schools or have in libraries, these books have been the target of censorship due to their contents. Books may be banned locally, but in some instances are banned nationally as well. A banned book is not illegal to read, but may be difficult to find. It is not uncommon for a book to be banned from some schools, but be on the reading lists for others.

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Banned Books Week 2020

Banned Books Week (September 26-October 2, 2021) 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.

This year's theme is "Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us." Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers. 

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. 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.

Information and graphics: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned.

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Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International LicenseIt is attributed to Butler University Libraries, and the original guide, Banned Books, can be found here. The guide has been modified from the original. 

Last modified August 26, 2017.


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