Apr 1, 2024 - News

Texas challenged fewer book titles in 2023

Book titles challenged in public schools and libraries, 2023
Data: American Library Association. Map: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

Texas saw a decrease in the number of book titles challenged last year compared to 2022, according to the American Library Association.

Why it matters: The state fell behind Illinois, California, and Pennsylvania in book ban attempts last year after leading the nation in 2022.

  • The state is still second only to Florida in the number of individual titles challenged.

State of play: In 2023, 1,470 titles were challenged in Texas, nearly 1,000 fewer than in 2022.

  • There were 49 censorship attempts last year, down from 93 in 2022. Some of last year's attempts listed more than 100 titles.

Yes, but: Book bans are still alive and well in Central Texas.

  • The Lake Travis school district board recently voted to remove from school libraries "The Haters," a young-adult novel.
  • And a decision by Llano County commissioners to purge books at the public libraries continues to reverberate in the rural area.

The big picture: Book ban attempts increased by 65% last year nationwide, even with the decrease in Texas.

  • Librarians perceive the threat from the book-banning movement as so profound that they're using the more expansive term "intellectual freedom challenges" instead, Axios' Jennifer Kingson writes.

The intrigue: The Texas legislature passed a law last year that would limit what books students can check out from their school libraries.

  • It was challenged before it could go into effect, and in January the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the law, siding with a lower court that the legislation was unconstitutional.

What's next: The American Library Association will release on April 8 its top 10 most challenged books list during National Library Week.

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