Banned Books



The Office of Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association maintains a list of the most frequently banned or challenged books in American libraries. All of the books in this exhibit come from the list of the hundred most challenged or banned books of the decade 1990-1999, the last decade for which a list is available. With a few exceptions, these books were not the focus of criminal proceedings, but rather attempts to restrict their circulation or remove them from the public altogether. The ALA has resisted attempts to remove items from libraries once they have been purchased or to have librarians act in the role of parent by determining whether certain children are sufficiently mature to gain access to the collection.

The books in this exhibit range from the obvious (Daddy's Roommate) to the curious (Where's Waldo). Some, like many of the works of Judy Blume, have been on the frequently banned list for decades. Others, like The Giver, are recent arrivals. They are arranged by the reason for their challenges: violence, sex (including nudity), and subversion (which include disobedience towards authority figures or disrespect for Christianity). A selection of controversial classics is also included.