The American Library Association (ALA
) has released its annual "State of America’s Libraries Report 2013
." One of the topics covered in the report is the "Banned Books Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books."
The top 10 list is put together annually by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). OIF collects reports on book challenges from librarians, teachers, concerned individuals and press reports.
Regarding banned and challenged books the ALA state that:
"A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice."
The ALA define a challenge as
"a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness."
In 2011, 326 attempts were filed in order to try and remove 'undesirable books;' in 2012 this number rose substantially with an additional 138 challenges making the number of reports on attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves stand at 464.
The top 10 most challenged books of 2012 are:
1. “Captain Underpants” (series), by Dav Pilkey
2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie
3. “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher
4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James
5. “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
6. “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini
7. “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green
8. “Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz
9. “The Glass Castle,” by Jeanette Walls
10. “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison.
The most challenged books in 2012, the "Captain Underpants" series, also made the top ten challenged book list in 2002, 2004, and 2005
The ALA struggles against censorship and supports freedom of speech and access to information by sponsoring events such as Banned Books Week
, to be held September 22 to 28, which promotes the need to keep free and open access to information and underlines the importance of maintaining First Amendment rights and stresses the harm that censorship can cause.