“According to not-for-profit watchdogs, public libraries grappled with “an unprecedented” 1,500+ book challenges in 2021. That’s on top of the nearly 2,900 school districts that banned at least one book from their collections between July 2021 and March 2022. The trend is receiving national attention, and the issue even received top billing in ALA’s recent State of America’s Libraries Report (2022).
What’s the difference between a challenged and a banned book – and more to the point, why are they dominating our headlines? Is there any precedent for it? Above all, what can Friends do to help their libraries navigate this climate?
MALF’s summer webinar, "Living in Challenging Times: Book Banning Then and Now" tackled these timely questions. Sheila DeChantal (president, Friends of the Brainerd Public Library) joined us over the lunch hour on Tuesday, June 21 for this informative, nonpartisan stroll through the long history of banned books.
We followed the trend right up to the present day. Sheila discussed proactive and reactive measures that Friends can take to support their library in the face of a book challenge.