We have a right to read and learn free from censorship.

This year's Banned Books Week in Iowa marks an increased number of challenged and banned books in our public schools and community libraries.

Every year, the ACLU highlights Banned Books Week, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read and calls attention to attempts to censor books in our state. Attempts to censor books are increasing.

Nationally, the American Library Association reported that in 2021, there was an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. Iowa is also seeing a number of public attempts to ban books and block educators from providing young people with reading materials that have already been vetted by librarians and teachers.

  • At the Vinton Public Library this year, two directors resigned because of efforts to purge LGBTQ books. Our statement on that situation can be found here.
  • In Logan, Iowa, recently a local author's book about her family was challenged.
  • Some Iowa politicians want to dramatically expand Iowa's obscenity laws and charge librarians and teachers with felony charges simply for doing their jobs and giving kids books those politicians don't like.
  • A roundup of some other recent attempts in central Iowa to ban books can be found here.

Most targeted books are by or about Black or LGBTQ people—effectively erasing the history and lived experiences of our communities.

The bottom line: A person can decide that they don't want to read a certain book. They can decide that they don't want their child to read that book. But they can't decide that the entire school or the entire town can't read that book.