Banned Books

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There have been record attempts in Oregon to ban books this year. In fact, Oregon has seen record attempts to ban books this year. This dangerous trend is particularly alarming as fascists feel empowered to undermine our rights. Courts at all levels are making regressive decisions, rolling back protections for pregnant people, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. And it’s not just politicians who are leading this regressive effort but also small groups and individuals who feel entitled to dictate what books and information the rest of us have access to. This year a record 2,572 book titles targeted for removal in libraries nationally are by or about LBGTQ+ and people of color.

No one should decide for us what we can read, see, or hear!

No one should decide for us what we can read, see, or hear! The ACLU is dedicated to the protection of free speech and free expression. When a small group of individuals tries to keep the rest of society from reading a book, viewing a painting, or voicing their opinions, they undermine the freedoms guaranteed for all people in the United States by our Constitution.

an illustration of a backpack in the center in blue, with a navy circle on the outside containing pink lettering that says "I know my student rights"
There is a general misconception that the term “banned book” means that the federal government is trying to unilaterally interfere in the public’s access to these works. Challenges are typically done on a small scale by a group of concerned citizens, or sometimes local government actors, who attempt to have the materials removed from their schools, local libraries and bookstores because the contents or themes of these books do not align with their personal beliefs. 


A book is “challenged” when a person or group objects to the materials and attempts to remove or restrict their accessibility. A book is “banned” when this removal is successful. 

Thanks to the work of libraries and the ACLU, most book challenges are now unsuccessful.

While Banned Books Week is a time to celebrate intellectual freedom, the fight against book censorship is ongoing. Take a moment to read our Executive Director's thoughts on this here

Scroll down to explore more Banned Books rescources and to download our free printable. Visit the ACLU National shop to purchase Banned Books swag to sport in your communities. 

More Resources

Interactive Bookshelf

An easy-to-use infographic of historically banned books in the United States. 

A stack of old banned books with the titles on the spine

The right to free expression includes the freedom to read whatever we choose. Yet state governments and local school districts have attempted to ban the books shown on this infographic. Follow the link below and hover over each book to learn a bit about its history.

Banned Books Infographic 

Start Your Own Banned Books Club

Resources for implementing your own Banned Books reading club at your school or library! 

A pile of blue "I read banned books" pins

We hope this conversation inspires you to defend your right to read and learn.

Start your own banned books club 

Student Know Your Rights

A hub for students' rights resources beyond book censorship. 

Students raising their hands in a classroom.

It is vital to a safe learning environment that students and educators retain their rights at school. To make this real, we must fight discriminatory policies and practices in schools.

We want to empower fellow public school students in Oregon with knowledge about their rights!

Check out the social media campaign and other related resources at the link below. 

Student Know Your Rights Hub

Please download and print to display in your libraries, classrooms and safe spaces!