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Report finds increase in attempts to ban books

Downtown San Diego's public library.
Tarryn Mento
/
KPBS
Downtown San Diego's public library is shown in this undated image.

A new report from the American Library Association found a rise in the number of book banning attempts throughout the country. To help counter the trend, libraries this week are commemorating Banned Books Week, whose 2022 theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

"I should say, it doesn't stop with just banning books. What we're seeing across the country is they're banning voices, modern voices, librarians, teachers," said Patrick Stewart, CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation. "It's gone beyond just the banning of a book, or a certain piece of literature or textbook."

Stewart joined San Diego Public Library director Misty Jones on Midday Edition Monday to talk about their reaction to the report's findings.

"It's disheartening," Jones said. "It is seeing just the increase in the number not only of challenges, but the extent and the links to what people are going for, these challenges going before school boards, the personal attacks on librarians and teachers for doing their job."

Many of the books being targeted involve topics on race and sexuality.

"If you look at the banned books of 2022, I think over half of them have an LGBTQIA focus," Jones said. "That, or for racist reasons, books about racial diversity from people of the BIPOC community. So, it really is targeting minorities."

For more information on what the San Diego Public Library is planning for Banned Books week, visit their website.

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