A perennial highlight of Banned Books Week is the Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books, compiled annually by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). OIF collects reports on book challenges from librarians, teachers, concerned individuals and press reports. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness. In 2012, OIF received 464 reports on attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves. This is an increase from 2011 totals, which stood at 326 attempts.
The most challenged books of 2012 are: “Captain Underpants” (series), by Dav Pilkey; “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie; “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher; “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James; “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini; “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green; “Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz; “The Glass Castle,” by Jeanette Walls: and “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison.
School libraries are bracing for further budget cuts as federal funding to the states shrinks and the states begin to reduce aid to education. Deborah Rigsby, director of federal legislation for the National School Boards Association, warned that this could lead to the closing of school libraries, among other things.