Free societies read freely!
The ACLU of Iowa is dedicated to preserving our First Amendment to decide for ourselves what we read, view, and hear—a fundamental element of free speech and expression.
Banned Books Week is observed annually in late September to celebrate the First Amendment and draw attention to the censorship of literature in public schools. This year, the ACLU of Iowa is honored to partner with the Iowa Library Association in promoting materials and educating on the topic of banned books in Iowa.
The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom tracks books that have been challenged, often by parents of students, to be removed from public and school libraries. Classic books such as Brave New World and The Catcher in the Rye, and newer titles, such as the Gossip Girl series and Twilight, have been on "challenged" lists for reasons including explicit language, sexual content and violence. See a more extenstive listing of challenged books in Iowa below.
Orange City has been a recent hot spot. In 2018, a petition was circulated in Orange City, demanding that the local library segregate and label books and content that have any LGBTQ content and halt acquisition of any more. The library has since simply revised its overall classification of books by topic rather than author. Later that year, a man objecting to children's books at the library with LGBTQ content burned them and shared a video of it in social media.
In other cases, specific books have been challenged. The following is a listing of books that been challenged since 2005 in Iowa libraries because they contained sex, homosexuality, swear words, or mentions of suicide or drug use. We are happy to report that none of them were successfully removed