Stack of books with titles crossed out

More than 4,000 Unique Titles Challenged: ALA Releases 2023 Censorship Data

The American Library Association (ALA) today released censorship figures from 2023. The data is alarming.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) documented efforts to censor 4,240 unique book titles in schools in libraries in 2023, fully eclipsing 2022’s previous high of 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship. The 4,240 unique titles make up a combined 1,247 demands to censor library books, materials, and resources in 2023.

OIF also identified 17 different states, including Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, that each saw attempts to censor more than 100 titles. In Florida alone, 2,672 titles were challenged in schools and libraries. Texas saw the second highest number of challenged titles with 1,470. The numbers highlight a recent trend in the censorship landscape: challenging multiple titles—often dozens or hundreds—at a time.

Many challenges go unreported to OIF, and the 2023 figures represent only a fraction of actual censorship numbers.

Pressure groups have redirected their aim from schools to public libraries, which saw a 92% increase in the number of titles challenged over the previous year. Schools saw an 11% increase. The attacks continue to disproportionately target books by and about LGBTQIA+ people and people of color, which make up about 47% of the titles challenged in 2023.

“The reports from librarians and educators in the field make it clear that the organized campaigns to ban books aren’t over, and that we must all stand together to preserve our right to choose what we read,” said OIF director Deborah Caldwell-Stone. “Each demand to ban a book is a demand to deny each person’s constitutionally protected right to choose and read books that raise important issues and lift up the voices of those who are often silenced.”

What can you do about it?

Join the Unite Against Book Bans campaign. Every person who joins the campaign is another voice in the fight against book bans. Already signed up? Help a friend or family member join.

Report censorship to the American Library Association. Reporting censorship and challenges to materials, resources, and services is vital to defending library resources and protecting against challenges before they happen.

Make a plan to attend your library or school board meeting. Most book ban battles are being fought on the local level, and attending these meetings is one of the most critical actions you can take to fend off book bans.

Spread the word. Use our graphics below to share on your social networks.

Note: a previous version of one of these graphics incorrectly referenced the number of unique titles challenged in 2021 as 1,651. In fact, the actual number is 1,858 unique titles challenged. 1,651 is the number of unique titles challenged during the preliminary period between January 1 and August 31, 2022, originally reported in September 2022.