Censorship is on the rise in 2022. Libraries and school districts across the country are receiving challenges and bans at an unprecedented rate. A challenge is when an individual or group seeks to get a book removed, while a ban is the institutional decision to remove a book.
Banned Books Week, September 18-24, amplifies intellectual freedom and pushes back against censorship because everyone deserves to see themselves in the library. The American Library Association, opens a new window (ALA) recorded 729 book challenges last year, double the total from 2020 and the highest number recorded since the organization first started tracking these statistics. ALA reports that books are frequently banned for Black or LGBTQIA+ content.
San Mateo County Libraries Serves a Vast, Diverse Community
We pride ourselves in having something for everyone in our collection. Our job is to offer a large variety of choices, and give community members the freedom to choose what to read or not read. We champion the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, opens a new window seeking to provide useful materials to all community members from many points of view. You can review our Material Selection Policy to learn more about our decision-making process.
Materials for Children and Teens Are Frequently the Target of Censors
Parents have the right to determine what is best for their families, but we want to make sure all voices and experiences are represented at the library. There are lots of ways for parents to help their children find the right books for them:
- ask library staff for help
- browse recommended lists
- utilize special sites with book trailers and title read-alike suggestions with your library card
Another great way is to read with your child or read the same books as your teen to best be able to answer questions and engage in meaningful discussions.
How Can You Protect the Freedom To Read?
- Support all your local libraries Continue to borrow books and other materials, use our online resources and attend our events
- Vote in local elections, opens a new window Public libraries and schools have supervising boards made up of local officials.
- Suggest new books Can't find a specific item in our catalog? Let us know, we may be able to add it!
- Stay informed, opens a new window Find out what's happening with book challenges across the United States.
- Get Involved, opens a new window Use toolkits to facilitate action, contact representatives and the media or start grassroots campaigns.
One of the best ways to fight censors is to read banned books. We made some banned books easily available as eBooks earlier this year. Check out our staff recommendations of books that have been banned.
In celebration of Banned Books Week 2022, we've gathered a list of books geared toward kids that have been banned or challenged.
In celebration of Banned Books Week 2022, we're sharing some YA books that have either been frequently challenged or banned since 2020.
In celebration of Banned Books Week 2022, we are highlighting books for adults that have been banned or challenged.