On Monday, the American Library Association (ALA) released a report claiming that efforts to ban books from libraries and schools have reached their highest levels since the year 2000.
According to Axios, the report claims that there were 729 challenges to reading materials contained in public libraries, schools, and universities in the year 2021. This is the highest number recorded by the group since they first began tracking such challenges 22 years ago. The over 700 incidents saw roughly 1,597 different books targeted for removal, according to the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
The numerous efforts were primarily due to conservative and parents’ rights groups fighting, often successfully, to prohibit sexually explicit books from being displayed in libraries and schools for young children to see. There were numerous such books, including graphic novels depicting homosexual sex, even being promoted to children by the schools in conjunction with radical pro-LGBTQ groups.
Additional books that were targeted included books that promote the far-left Critical Race Theory, a concept claiming that all White people are automatically racist, and that America is an inherently racist nation.
ALA President Patricia Wong issued a statement in support of the books that have been banned, claiming that “young people need to have access to a variety of books from which they can learn about different perspectives.” Wong also claimed that “despite this organized effort to ban books, libraries remain ready to do what we always have: make knowledge and ideas available so people are free to choose what to read.”
The presence of such books, and subsequent efforts to hold school officials accountable over their inclusion, has led to a widespread grassroots movement of concerned parents across the nation. Numerous protests at school board meetings have gone viral, and many school board elections last year saw incumbents swept out of power by challengers who supported banning such books.
The political culmination of this movement came with the Virginia elections last November, which saw Republicans take all three statewide executive offices and regain control of the state’s House of Delegates, after gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) campaigned on a platform of giving parents greater control over their children’s education.