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Banned Books Week: Home

Every September {and sometimes October}, the American Library Association and others sponsor this week to commemorate our right to read freely by highlighting banned and challenged books.

Banned Books Week: Introduction


2022's List of Banned Books from the American Library Association with ISU Library Holdings, descriptions of the books, and more including several important graphics and links.


The 2023 list reports on 2022 books. It is coming soon but many of the 2022 list items report similar titles challenged in 2021.






Banned Books Week is an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read and draws attention to the harms of censorship. 

“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs.” - Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom - 2022


  • The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country.

  • The OIF compile lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools.

  • The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.

Stay informed. If you hear of a challenge at your local library, support your librarian and free and open access to library materials by contacting the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). OIF estimates it learns of only 3-18% of book challenges. Find out your library's policy for reviewing challenged materials. Stay updated about intellectual freedom by signing up for the free Intellectual Freedom News newsletter, or reading the Journal for Intellectual Freedom and Privacy.


Readers and libraries are invited to share their activities widely on social media with #BannedBooksWeek to encourage others to join the movement for the freedom to read!

Participate in the Stand for the Banned Virtual Read-outJoin readers from across the world in filming yourself reading from your favorite banned book. The videos are featured on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.
Write a letter to a favorite banned or challenged author. Take some time to thank a banned or challenged author for their words. Author addresses and Twitter handles can be found on the Dear Banned Author page
Perform a play about the freedom to read. The Office for Intellectual Freedom offers a complete stage adaption of YA novel The Sledding Hill, written by frequently banned author Chris Crutcher.
Write a letter to the editor. Edit and adapt this “Read a Banned Book” opinion column for your local newspaper. Include local Banned Books Week programs so your community can support their right to read. EVERYONE can write a letter; it's not just librarians interested in this topic!
Exercise your reading rights. Check out a banned book. Encourage your book club to discuss rebellious reads.
Join the Freedom to Read Foundation. It's dedicated to the legal and financial defense of intellectual freedom, especially in libraries.
Support Banned Books Week with a $25$50$100, or $250 donation.




As always, during National Library Week, the American Library Association released its Top 10 List of Banned Books. The list for 2022 was released April 22, 2023. The list of Top 10 turned into a list of 13 because several titles were tied.

We have created a handout with the list that includes ISU Library holdings, descriptions, and graphics and other information related to Censorship and Banned Books.


Banned Books Week Programming

When there is scheduled programming in the Library or on campus, events will be listed here.



Read a Banned Book Out Loud in the Normal Hall Rotunda at the following days and times:

  • Tuesday September 20, 2:00-3:15 pm

  • Wednesday, September 21, 5:00-6:00pm (or as long as people wish to read)

  • Thursday, September 23, 2:00-3:15 pm

[Linda Maule; University College]

Banned Book Statistics, 2010-2019

Between 2000-2009, 5,099* challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

  • 1,577 challenges due to "sexually explicit" material;
  • 1,291 challenges due to "offensive language";
  • 989 challenges due to materials deemed "unsuited to age group";
  • 619 challenged due to "violence"' and
  • 361 challenges due to "homosexuality."

Further, 274 materials were challenged due to "occult" or "Satanic" themes, an additional 291 were challenged due to their "religious viewpoint," and 119 because they were "anti-family."

Please note that the number of challenges and the number of reasons for those challenges do not match, because works are often challenged on more than one ground.

1,639 of these challenges were in school libraries; 1,811 were in classrooms; 1,217 took place in public libraries. There were 114 challenges to materials used in college classes; and 30 to academic libraries. There are isolated cases of challenges to library materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and students. The vast majority of challenges were initiated by parents (2,535), with patrons and administrators to follow (516 and 489 respectively).

*We receive challenge reports after the top ten list has been published. This number reflects all the challenges we received since July 31, 2013 for the 2000-2009 time period.


Other Organizations: Banned Books Week

Intellectual Freedom: Statements

List revised September 2020

Banned Books: ALA Lists

The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors Banned Books Week.

  • They collect annual lists of challenged and banned library books and other materials as well as put together lists by decade, Top 100, etc.
  • Check through these lists for titles, then check the Library's catalog (FUSION) to see if we have the books here. They will include children's and young adult titles, as well as adult fiction and non-fiction.

Links updated September 2022

Banned Books Week Communication Group Circa 2013

Banned Books Readers

Banned Books Week Women's Studies Group Circa 2013

Banned Books Week Readers

Banned Books - Graphics 2 - Book Jackets

Intellectual Freedom Media