Book bans resurge in American schools and libraries

By: Audrey Cable

According to CBS News, more than 1,600 books have been banned across the U.S. in 2022 compared to 2020 when only 273 books were banned. Local boards of education are often in charge of choosing which books are banned in their school libraries.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “About 41 percent of the banned titles explicitly address LGBTQ themes, making these the biggest target of the bans.” Titles about teen pregnancy and sexual assault make up 22 percent while another 21 percent of the titles banned directly address racism. Forty percent feature major characters of color. Reasoning for the bans say the books are “unsuited for any age group.”

“Every student has a right to read,” Bellbrook High School librarian Mrs. Sumner said. “Books are for reading, to learn new things, not for banning.”

A teacher in Oklahoma had her teaching license revoked when she gave a student a book that was banned in their district. According to NPR, the state had a law passed in May limiting what public school teachers say about race and gender. So when the teacher went to put up QR codes around the classroom that directed students to the Brooklyn Public Library’s Books Unbanned Project, the school district was faced with outraged parents and educators. 

In Bellbrook, up to this point teachers and librarians have been given full autonomy to choose books for their classes and libraries. “The district is working to develop a committee for guidelines on curriculum,” English teacher Ms. Bills-Tenney said. “They want updated rules around book adoption and lodging complaints.”

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