September is Library Card Sign-up Month, when libraries nationwide join the American Library Association (ALA) to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step on the path to academic achievement and lifelong learning.
Libraries play a crucial role in the education and development of children, offering a variety of programs to spark creativity and stimulate an interest in reading and learning. Through access to technology, media resources and educational programs, a library card gives students the tools to succeed in the classroom and provides people of all ages opportunities to pursue their dreams, explore new passions and interests, and find their voice. This year, Tony Award-winning performer, actress, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist Idina Menzel (Frozen, Wicked) and her sister, author and educator Cara Mentzel, will serve as honorary chairs of Library Card Sign-Up Month. Get your library card today!
Banned Books Week is September 18th through September 24th. It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
Every year the Office for Intellectual Freedom, a part of the American Library Association, compiles a list of the 10 most challenged books of the previous year. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Of the 1,597 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:
- Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
- This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
- Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.