Texas Attempted To Ban More Books Than Any Other State Last Year

By Sherah Janay Ndjongo

September 14, 2023

Open book, hardback books on bright colorful background.
Photo: Getty Images

In 2022, Texas led the nation in book censorship efforts, as reported by the American Library Association (ALA). Recent data revealed that Texas surpassed all other states with 93 attempts to ban 2,349 titles, nearly doubling the second-ranked state, Pennsylvania, which made 56 attempts to restrict 302 titles.

This trend reflects a pattern of book bans nationwide, often affecting works by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC authors, according to the ALA. They reported a record 1,269 demands to remove 2,571 unique titles across the country, a significant jump from 2021's 729 demands. Notably, 90% of these challenges sought to ban multiple books, a departure from previous years.

Parents prompted 30% of the book ban attempts, followed by library patrons at 28%, while 17% came from religious or political groups and 15% from school boards and administrators. The rest originated from various community members.

The ALA stated that such attempts are "evidence of a growing, well-organized, conservative political movement, the goals of which include removing books about race, history, gender identity, sexuality, and reproductive health from America's public and school libraries that do not meet their approval."

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye was the most highly contested title in Texas due to its themes and content.

Across the state, proposals to limit access to such books gained momentum through various channels, including legislation. House Bill 900, known as the Readers Act, mandated book ratings based on sexual content but faced legal action, delaying its enforcement.

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