Posted on September 19, 2022 at 7:51 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Banned Books Week 2022 officially began yesterday, and the reports released to coincide with the occasion have some depressing statistics.

On Friday, the American Library Association reported that this year's number of attempts to ban or restrict books is already approaching 2021's figure — which itself was the highest in decades.

The ALA has documented 681 challenges to books through the first eight months of this year, involving 1,651 different titles, according to the Associated Press.

That compares with 729 challenges for all of 2021, involving 1,579 books.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, says there's a terrifying trend underneath this rise: formal, organized campaigns targeting entire lists of books that they haven't necessarily looked at.

PEN America has issued a report finding much of the same, reports NPR.

The freedom-of-expression group identified at least fifty groups — working at the local, state, and national level — trying to remove books from school curriculums and school libraries.

These organizations are fairly new, according to the report; many of them began in 2021.

Both the ALA and PEN noted an intense focus on YA books that include issues of race, gender, and sexuality.

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