Purpose – This paper aims to compare the American Library Association's statistics on the most frequently challenged books in the years 2000‐2010 that appear on the ALA's “Banned and Challenged Classics” list versus those that are contemporary that are found in the ALA published Banned Book Resource Guide. Design/methodology/approach – Analyses were made to determine whether classics were challenged more than contemporary books, and if there has been a rise in contemporary challenged books. To find out the similarities and difference in contemporary and classic books, the reasons for challenges were broken down into the categories of: drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, parental permission, racism, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group, violence, witchcraft, challenged, and “other”. Findings – The study found that contemporary books were challenged more than classic books between 2000‐2010, but there has not been a rise in the number of challenges. The similarities and differences show that a small percentage of difference is seen in some of the reasons for the challenges, but the largest percentage for being sexually explicit, and the largest margin of difference in the percentages in racism. Research limitations/implications – Because the Banned Book Resource Guide was published in 2010, the statistics for challenged books in the year 2010 are incomplete. A suggestion for further research would be conducting the study when a later version of the Resource Guide is available and includes the 2010 statistics. Originality/value – By examining patterns that have taken place in book challenges over the past ten years, the paper helps those interested in censorship and its many complications to better understand its trends.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 13, 2012
Keywords: Challenge; Banned books; Censorship; Contemporary literature; Classics; Books; United States of America; Social norms