Banned Books Week: 2022

Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has stood as an an important week of awareness and advocacy against library and book censorship.

Celebrate Banned Books Week, September 18-24, 2022. American Library Association

2021 and 2022 have seen an unprecedented rise in attempted book bans across schools and libraries in America piloted by advocacy groups, some having taken place in nearby counties. Started in the 1980s as an awareness campaign by the cooperation of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom and the publishing community, Banned Books Week seeks to advocate for freedom by drawing attention to books that have been challenged for removal in library and school collections. It also reminds us of historical banning or removal of texts.

Celebrating Banned Books Week reminds us of the power of words. 

Click through to read more about Banned Books Week, including the books that were most frequently challenged in 2021.

Removing a book from the collection due to inaccuracies, age, or condition (something libraries often do in order to provide the best resources to their users) is different than banning or requesting to ban a book– most books that are challenged because they represent marginalized communities, have “profane” or “offensive” language or content, or disagree with someone’s political, religious, or social viewpoint. Self-selection and choosing to not read a book because you disagree with it is different than requesting to remove it from a collection so no one can read it. 

Check out the graphic below, representing why books were requested to be  censored, as reported to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom–

Censorship by the numbers. Books unite us. They reach across boundaries and build
connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand,
divides us and creates barriers. In 2021, 1,597 books were
affected by censorship attempts. Learn more at

Many of the books challenged for removal from collections deal with perceptions of overt sexuality, critical race theory, language, or “lifestyle” (often related to sexual orientation or gender identity). 

The American Library Association (ALA) Office of Intellectual Freedom has the top ten challenged books list— if you’re curious about their content, feel free to browse the Durham Tech Book and DVD Catalog or Dogwood Digital Collection to read these books or click on the links in the captions below to put a hold on one.

For those who may be interested in exploring challenged books, the New York Public Library has started their Books for All initiative, a partnership with several publishers to make banned and challenged books available to all readers through their free e-reader.