2021 Witnessed an Unprecedented Number of Attempted Book Bans

729 challenges to library, school, and university reading materials were made in 2021, a new report from the American Library Association shows – more than any other year in the past two decades.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

The American Library Association found 729 challenges to library, school, and university reading materials in 2021, in its annual State of America’s Library Report, released on Monday.

The number of cited challenges spanned across nearly 1,600 books and was the largest reported figure since the ALA began aggregating challenges over two decades ago, per The Associated Press.

“We support individual parents’ choices concerning their child’s reading and believe that parents should not have those choices dictated by others. Young people need to have access to a variety of books from which they can learn about different perspectives,” ALA President Patricia Wong said in a press release.

Since the start of 2021, a number of GOP lawmakers — such as Texas Governor Greg Abbott — have demonstrated persistent efforts to eradicate literature perceived as unsavory from classrooms across the country.


Many of the targeted books include topics related to the LGBTQ+ perspective, sexual orientation and gender identity, and critical race theory.

NPR reported that Maia Kobabe’s 2019 memoir, “Gender Queer,” was slated at number one on the ALA’s top 10 most challenged books list.