Book challenges and bans have recently become a hot topic in the US. Over the last few years
challenges to books owned by libraries have increased dramatically. In fact, almost twice as
many books were challenged in 2022 as in 2021, and the 2022 numbers represent a more than
ten-fold increase from 2020. According to the American Library Association’s Office for
Intellectual Freedom, of the top thirteen most challenged books in 2022, more than 50% were
singled out either wholly or partly for LGBTQ+ content.
As part of this year’s Pride Week activities, the Saugatuck-Douglas District Library is hosting a
panel discussion exploring this issue. Speakers include librarians from around Michigan all of
whom have first-hand experience of book challenges and book bans in their communities. The
panel reflects the diversity of library professionals including school librarians, public librarians
and those working in professional and advocacy organizations.
“Now we’re seeing organized attempts by groups to censor multiple titles throughout the
country without actually having read many of these books” states American Library Association
President, Lessa Pelayo-Lozada. Such campaigns have occurred in West Michigan, where in one
community, voters chose to defund their local library in response to what it claimed to be
“pornographic content” in the library’s collection. Panelists will discuss the ramifications of such
challenges on individuals, professionals, and our communities. All are welcome to attend, ask
questions, and learn about the issues involved. This event is made possible with support from
the Friends of the Library.