This seminar will consider the practice of censorship in schools and libraries in the United States, looking at the reasons behind it, the identity of those who practice it, and possible solutions.
The American Library Association (ALA) reported 2,571 unique book titles were targeted for censorship in 2022, a 32% increase over 2021—58% of the targets were books in school and classroom libraries or school curricula; 41% were in public libraries. The bans affected 138 school districts in 32 states, with Texas and Florida leading the nation. Many individuals came to library board meetings demanding that 20 or 40 or even 100 books be banned, the majority being books written about members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, and human sexuality. The banned list includes dozens of classic authors as well as current books. In 2022 ALA launched Unite Against Book Bans, an initiative to empower readers to join in the fight against censorship. This seminar will consider the people involved in book banning, their motivations, and how we can resist them. Seminar participants will choose a favorite banned book or author to describe for us, and explain why we should read them.
Here is one suggested reading: Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship in the West, from the Ancients to Fake News by Eric Berkowitz. A handout will be provided by the moderator.