Book Banning & Censorship in America

All around the country the first week in October, librarians, educators, publishers, booksellers, journalists, and READERS, gathered for Banned Books Week events to highlight the value of our freedom to read and to seek and to express ideas, drawing national attention to the harms of censorship. The American Library Association (ALA) defines censorship as "the suppression of ideas and information that some individuals, groups, or government officials find objectionable."

On October 4th, the Library was part of the Department of Politics Let’s Talk Politics series, the first event of the academic year. This panel discussion, entitled Let's Talk Politics: Book Banning & Censorship in America, jumped off from recent attempts to ban books to cover the partisan, cultural, and racial politics of censorship in America. Download the slides below that ran at the beginning of the event, highlighting a section of recent news headlines and statistics relating to censorship attempts in libraries and beyond.

Panelists encouraged students, faculty, staff, and community to raise questions or comments after each of the three categories:

  1. Censorship and Access
  2. Censorship and Representation
  3. Censorship and Historical Memory


Gwendoline Alphonso, Professor of Politics, PhD, JSD

Gayle Alberda, Associate Professor of Politics, PhD

Matt Schirano, Teaching & Learning Coordinator, DiMenna-Nyselius Library, MLIS, MS

David Schmidt, Associate Professor Business Ethics, PhD

Many thanks to the Office of Student Engagement for providing funds to offer a student raffle to give away copies of the top challenged books of 2022. Copies were also distributed through a raffle at the Bellarmine campus. Both the North Benson and Bellarmine campus had a display of ALA censorship data graphics and the top 13 challenged books of 2022 for students to browse or borrow for the month of October.