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The American Library Association has joined a coalition of more than 25 groups to “empower individuals and communities to fight censorship and protect the freedom to read.”

The coalition is attempting to leverage strength and reach of these organizations to protect books, librarians and teachers who are “under attack for doing their jobs,” according to Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

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The campaign is called “Unite Against Book Bans.”

“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials,” Caldwell-Stone said. “It’s time that policymakers understand the severity of this issue. ALA is taking the steps necessary to protect individuals’ access to information, but we can’t do this alone.”

Joining the ALA’s push to defend sexually explicit, obscene materials are:

*American Booksellers Association Free Expression Initiative
*American Federation of Teachers
*American Indian Library Association
*Asian Pacific American Librarians Association
*Association for Library and Information Science Education
*Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services
*Authors Guild
*Baker & Taylor
*Black Caucus of the American Library Association
*Candlewick Press
*Chinese American Librarians Association
*Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
*Freedom to Read Foundation
*Human Rights Campaign
*Lerner Publishing Group
*Macmillan Publishers
*National Book Foundation
*National Coalition Against Censorship
*National Council of Teachers of English
*Overdrive Inc.
*Penguin Random House
*Simon & Schuster
*Society of American Archivists
*Sourcebooks
*Steve and Loree Potash Family Foundation
*The Quarto Group

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said book bans are “limiting kids’ freedom to read and teachers’ freedom to teach.”

“Parents agree–they want their children to learn the lessons of the past in an age-appropriate way, even as certain politicians try to turn classrooms into cultural battlefields and censor what gets taught,” Weingarten said. “The majority of these bans target titles with racial and LGBTQ themes, cruelly erasing young readers’ lived experience. And while it’s uncomfortable to talk about tough issues like genocide, slavery and racism, reading honest history helps kids learn the good and the bad about our country and emerge as well-informed, engaged citizens of the world.”

The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom said it tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services, which resulted in more than 1,597 individual bok challenges or removals in 2021.

This is the highest number of “attempts to ban books” since the ALA began tracking 30 years ago.

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