A recent report released by the American Library Association (ALA) showed that Texas came in as the state with the most book ban attempts in 2022. There were a total of 1,269 book ban requests made in 2022 with 93 coming from Texas. A total of 2,571 different books were included in the ban requests around the country. Texas’ attempts included just over 2,300 different books.
The 1,269 attempts made around the country in 2022 doubled the 729 attempts made in 2021.
The books vary in content and reasonings behind the ban attempts, but there are some trends still. Most of the books have themes regarding anti-racism or tell LGBTQ+ stories. Some of the books had sexually explicit content while others just had themes that went against religious beliefs.
The most challenged book in Texas was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. The reasoning behind the ban attempts of this work has to do with the sexual content of the book. Joining this book as frequently ban requested books are Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. However, the list does not remotely end with these titles.
Book bans are nothing new, but the numbers that came in last year are far higher than they were in the past.
As more and more conservatives gain power, book banning has grown in popularity. They particularly happen in Republican-led states, which is why the themes typically revolve around themes that go against most conservative beliefs. One of the members of the Texas Library Association, Shirley Robinson, spoke out regarding these book bans. According to her, “Libraries have faced these issues as long as libraries have been in existence. But the volume of challenges, and the vitriol against librarians, is unprecedented.”
The ironic part that she pointed out later on in her statement is that often these are books being pushed to be banned when the requester has usually not read the books. Often, the books are once that were discussed on the news or seen on social media. Parents and/or political groups typically then go to their local libraries and participate in the masses by pushing for the title to be banned.
Overall, libraries continue to not give into the people pushing for the bans. They see the power of words and are fighting to maintain the books’ integrity.