Education

Indiana legislature advances bill that would make banning books easier

The Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly approved a bill that would require school libraries to take public comment on their books.

The Indiana House of Representatives
Arleigh Rodgers / AP
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The Indiana General Assembly has approved a measure that would give the public more influence over which books are allowed on shelves in the state's school libraries.

The bill requires schools to publish lists of books offered in their libraries, and requires them to acknowledge public feedback on titles. The bill also eliminates "educational" value as a legal defense for keeping a book on shelves.

"Scientific," "literary," "artistic" or "political" justifications for keeping books would remain legal.

Both chambers of Indiana's state house are under Republican control. The House voted 70-27 in favor of the bill, and the Senate passed it 39-10. The legislation now requires the signature of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Book censoring attempts doubled in 2022
Book censoring attempts doubled in 2022

Book censoring attempts doubled in 2022

The American Library Association has been recording data on censorship in libraries for more than 20 years. This year's data has record numbers.

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The American Library Association says attempts to ban books have made record surges. The latest available data shows in 2022, there were a record high 1,269 demands to censor library books or resources. 

The significant spike began in 2021, when there were 729 ban attempts. In 2020, there were only 156 challenges.

The association found that before 2021, most attempts to ban books focused on single titles. In 2022, 90% of titles challenged were part of an attempt to ban multiple titles at once.

The ALA says of those books challenged in 2021, "the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color."