January 19, 2022

ALA Releases 2018 State of American Libraries Report, Includes List of Most Challenged Books of 2017

From the American Library Association:

Today the American Library Association (ALA) released its 2018 State of America’s Libraries report, an annual summary of library trends released during National Library Week, April 8 – 14, that outlines statistics and issues affecting all types of libraries. The report affirms the invaluable role libraries and library workers play within their communities by leading efforts to transform lives through education and lifelong learning.

Direct to Executive Summary
Direct to Complete 2018 State of American Libraries Report
Direct to Flipbook Version
PDF Version Coming Soon

Most Challenged Books

The report found that libraries continue to face challenges that carry with them the potential for censorship, to a variety of books, programs and materials. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracked 354 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2017. Some individual challenges resulted in requests to restrict or remove multiple titles or collections. Overall in 2017, 416 books were targeted – direct attacks on the freedom to read.

Through an analysis of overall books challenged (416) the OIF produced the “Top Ten Most Challenged Books” of 2017, which includes:

1.      Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Reason: Suicide

2.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Profanity, Sexually Explicit

3.  Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reason: LGBT Content

4.  The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Sexual Violence, Religious Themes, “May Lead to Terrorism”

5.  George, by Alex Gino
Reason: LGBT Content

6.  Sex is a Funny Word, written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
Reason: Sex Education

7.  To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: Violence, Racial Slurs.

8.  The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Drug Use, Profanity, “Pervasively Vulgar”

9.  And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole
Reason: LGBT Content

10.  I Am Jazz, written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reason: Gender Identity



Source: ALA

Additional Resources

Complete List of Challenged Books and Three Infographics


About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.