You can access our banned books reports since 2002 here.
Below are some highlights from our recent reports.
AN OVERVIEW OF CENSORSHIP IN TEXAS: 14th ANNUAL REPORT ON CHALLENGED AND BANNED BOOKS IN TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 2009- 2010 School Year
This is an excerpt. Read the whole report at http://www.aclutx.org/reports/bannedbooks/BB2k10.pdf
In a world where adults and teenagers are ever more swamped with information, the simple pleasure of getting lost in the pages of a good book has never felt better. In a well-written story, the powerful themes that propel society forward and define the directions of our lives – from love, oppression, and the growing pains of childhood to war and peace – are brought before us. We come out wiser, more compassionate, and more emboldened for having dipped our imaginations, our intellects, and hearts into worlds beyond the confines of our own.
Unfortunately, not all see it that way. The good news is: when it comes to the outright banning of books, this year was better than last year. We have seen a slight but steady decrease in both the number of books challenged and banned since the 2007-2008 school year. The bad news is: of those challenges brought before school administrators this year, 44 percent led to a book being banned or restricted.
This year, we sent out requests to every school district and most charter schools in Texas. We were after basic information on whether books have been banned or restricted, and what mechanisms schools use before pulling a book from their library shelves or school curriculum. 954 of almost 1,300 districts answered our requests for information.
Throughout Texas, 87 times books were challenged. Twenty books were banned, while another 16 were restricted. Quite likely, this number is higher as those districts that responded to our survey are probably those with attitudes and policies more protective of free speech and access to books.
FREE PEOPLE READ FREELY: 13th ANNUAL REPORT ON CHALLENGED AND BANNED BOOKS IN TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 2008-2009 School Year
This is an excerpt. You can read or download the whole report at
Celebrating the Freedom to Read
Earlier this year, America lost one of its champions of the First Amendment. Judith Krug was 69 when she died of cancer in April in Evanston, Illinois. Throughout her career, which spanned more than four decades, she led tenacious efforts to educate policy-makers, librarians, educators, parents and students about their constitutional right to express ideas and to read the ideas of others without governmental interference.
Ms. Krug was the director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation for more than 40 years. She advised librarians on how to deal with challenges to reading material. She was involved in legal battles challenging both book and Internet censorship in libraries that went all the way to the Supreme Court. She also fought against a part of the USA PATRIOT Act that allowed government officials access to confidential library records and to secretly monitor what people read.
Most notably, in 1982, she founded ALA’s Banned Books Week—an annual week-long event that celebrates authors, their literature, the freedom to choose and the freedom to express one’s opinions—for which this report is written. Banned Books Week is an incredible legacy she has bestowed upon every person in this country. And her message reads loud and clear: don’t take this precious constitutional freedom for granted!
Through Banned Books Week, she created a means for librarians and teachers to teach the importance of the freedoms of speech and expression to our children. She alerted ordinary folk about sthe dangers of imposing restrictions on a free society. And she reminded people of the joys of reading, the wonderful ways books teach us about life, and how books open doors to different worlds and ideas.
It is the responsibility of all of us to protect our freedoms, to continue the legacy Judith Krug left for our children and for generations to follow, so we may read freely without the government meddling into our lives. It is our great honor to dedicate the ACLU of Texas’ 2008-2009 annual banned books report, Free People Read Freely, to Judith Krug, a heroine to us all. And a true freedom fighter in our book.