Efforts to ban books in public school libraries are surging, reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.
According to Deborah Caldwell Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Freedom, which tracks book challenges nationwide, “We’re now seeing a 60% year-to-year increase in book challenges,” Albanese tells CCC.
“We are in the midst of an unprecedented spike in attempts to ban books from schools and libraries,” Albanese explains. “While efforts to remove books from schools and library collections are not uncommon, this spike in challenges is different, as they are clearly part of a broader political strategy.”
Librarians and educators—often bolstered by community support—have had some success in pushing back against many of these recent efforts to ban books, according to Albanese. Yet concern is rising across the US, he says.
“John Chrastka, executive director of EveryLibrary, a political action group that works to support libraries at the local level, told me he is seeing an attempt to shift the conversation away from books and ideas to a conversation about parental control. We’re seeing the weaponization of parental control to advance a political agenda.”