05 April 2022 Blogs, Academic, Librarian, Faculty, Administrator, ,

Banned and challenged books in U.S. schools (and what librarians can do about it)

The number of banned and challenged books in schools is increasing. Here’s what librarians can do about it.

By Noel Smart, Product Marketing Manager

School libraries have provided a safe space for learning about diverse cultures and lifestyles for generations. They’ve been that special place where kids could get extra help on an assignment or take a walk in someone else’s shoes by simply picking up a book.

However, the range of perspectives available in school libraries is under threat, as parental concerns regarding content available to their children is backed by changes in U.S. legislation.

What are the most banned and challenged books?

Book Riot reports at least 13 U.S. states have either passed or are considering legislation that allows parents to pull books from school library shelves without any formal process to include librarians or educators in the decision. Novels focused on LGBTQ+ characters and racial issues are among the most banned and challenged books in schools.

School libraries nationwide could see an unprecedented number of books removed from their shelves, making the holdings in public libraries that much more critical. After all, Maus – a graphic novel about the Holocaust that was recently banned by a school board in Tennessee – became one of the top searched books in library catalogs after its banning.

How to promote challenged titles

Public libraries play a central role in helping us all make use of the 21st century’s most valuable asset – information. Information enriches us all – intellectually, culturally and economically – so education and knowledge should transcend individual human biases, which get in the way of clear and rational thinking. Librarians have an important role to help support diversity and inclusivity in their communities by making challenged titles easy to find in their holdings. Resources like Syndetics Unbound are adding features that make it simple to promote debated titles right in the library’s online catalog. Syndetics Unbound’s Book Display Widget now includes a variety of Banned and Challenged Books widgets like…

    • 50 Books Texas Parents Tried to Ban
    • ALA’s 10 Most Banned Books
    • In the News: Banned Books that made the Headlines

Library resources have always given patrons an opportunity to view the world through someone else’s eyes. Banned and Challenged Books Widgets help them ensure that tradition continues in their communities.

Librarians with Syndetics Unbound can select “Get this Widget” from the Syndetics Unbound Libguide to download interactive displays of hotly contested books.

For more information about Syndetics Unbound, visit Syndetics.com.