Libraries across the U.S. are commemorating Banned Books Week September 25-October 1. Activities during this week are designed to promote the concept of intellectual freedom, or “freedom to read.” Each year, many library materials are challenged in school and public libraries. Books are challenged for a variety of reasons, including explicit content, violence, language, and other reasons. The Library Research Service (LRS), part of the Colorado State Library, has done several statistical studies on intellectual freedom and book bans/challenges, including statistics on the most frequent reasons for the challenges.
In 2004 LRS published Intellectual Freedom Issues in Colorado: Concerns, Challenges, Resources, and Opinions, an in-depth study of the issue. More recently, their “Fast Facts” series has included such entries as Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2015, a new report released this summer. Another Fast Facts report looked at the 29 book challenges in Colorado public libraries in 2013. For more statistical reports on Colorado library topics, visit the LRS website or search the State Publications Library’s online catalog.