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Banned Books Week

Banned books facts

What does it mean to ban a book?

banned books display: book shelf with caution tape

Photo credit: San José Public Library;

Step 1: Book Challenge

A person requests a book to be removed from a library OR restricted in some way


Step 2: Book Ban

A book ban is when a book challenge has been approved and a book is removed or restricted. Not all challenged books are banned.

Books are challenged or banned for one reason or several, and not all people or groups will find the same reason to challenge a book. In some cases, there may be only one scene or a small section of the book that motivates a person or group to submit a challenge. 

If you think you need additional help determining which book is right for you, Common Sense Media will provide information on the various content areas that may be troubling as well as give a recommended reading age. See the links below to explore the Common Sense Media page and to find out why reading banned books (using discernment) may be helpful.

top 10 book challenge reasons: sexual content (including rape, sex education, LBGTQ+ themes), profanity/offensive language, feminine hygiene/menstrual cycle, supernatural themes, violence to people and/or animals, racism/slavery, unsuited to age group, anti-religion, religious themes, "un-American"; honorable mention: "encourages poor spelling"

where do book challenges take place? 44% school libraries; 37% public libraries; 18% schools; 1% academic/other

who initiates book challenges? 39% parents; 24% patrons; 18% board/administration; 10% political/religious groups; 6% librarians/teachers; 2% elected officials; 1% students

What is the library's role?

The NNU Library has a responsibility to provide access to a wide variety of perspectives. Adding items to the library does not reflect support of whatever point of view or ideology is expressed.

Instead, we believe that access to these perspectives will foster the pursuit of truth and transformation. Learning about other perspectives, cultures, and traditions also fosters a sense of empathy, which also enables people to foster community and service. While readers will certainly encounter ideas with which they disagree, understanding these ideas may also be a key to understanding others and becoming creative and redemptive agents in the world