According to the ALA (American Library Association), a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based on the objections of a person or a group.
Books are usually challenged under the best of intentions—to protect others (usually children) from difficult ideas and/or information. It is an attempt to remove material from a curriculum or library, restricting access for others. Challenges are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.
The Office of Intellectual Freedom’s top three reasons cited for challenging materials are:
Banning is the removal of any challenged material
The Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.
Over 500 challenged books were showcased at the 1982 American Booksellers Association (ABA) BookExpo America trade show in Anaheim, California.
The American Library Association promotes Banned Books Week, along with 14 other contributors and sponsors. Judith Krug led the Banned Books Week efforts as Office of Intellectual Freedom Director until her death in 2009. Her legacy lives on in the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund, a grant awarded to nonprofits to host Banned Books Week events.
Today, Banned Books Week coverage by mainstream media reaches an estimated 2.8 billion readers, and more than 90,000 publishing industry and library subscribers