Book bans are something that no library is immune to, and the effects can be devastating for communities. Not only is having access to information a constitutional freedom, but it is paramount to our advancement as a society. You’ve probably heard the famous quote from Winston Churchill, “those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Book bans and other aims at censorship from our past have proven his point: erasure only begets ignorance, and spins a vicious cycle of injustice that threatens liberty for everyone. Efforts to more closely scrutinize educational institutions nearly doubled in 2022–the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom tracked over 1,269 attempts to ban books and other resources in libraries and schools. In the state of Arkansas, those same attempts are happening with greater frequency. Even our own library has been subject to a few book challenges over the past year, and we continue to combat opposition from the local to the legislative level.
According to the ALA, the most challenged books addressed topics on race, gender identity, sexuality, and reproductive health. 2022’s most challenged books were:
So how can you help fight against book bans and keep your library accessible to all?