|Weekly News Digest
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ALA Releases Report on the Effects of COVID-19 on Libraries—Plus Banned Books
ALA published “State of America’s Libraries Special Report: COVID-19,” which serves as “a snapshot of the library communities’ resilience, determination, and innovation in unprecedented circumstances. The State of America’s Libraries report is released annually during National Library Week, April 4–10, and this year’s issue focuses on the impact of the novel coronavirus on all types of libraries during the previous calendar year.” An example of the findings: “Coronavirus opened a floodgate of misinformation. Library staff worked to eradicate misinformation about COVID-19, which was infused with xenophobia and especially Sinophobia, resulting in a surge of bigotry against Asian or Chinese people. Throughout 2020, librarians responded to misinformation about vaccines, the census, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Additionally, “attempts to remove library materials continued during the pandemic, despite many libraries and schools closing or moving their activities and services online. … In 2020, more than 273 books were challenged or banned. Demands to remove books addressing racism and racial justice or those that shared the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color grew in number. At the same time, books addressing themes and issues of concern for LGBTQIA+ people continued to dominate the list.” The top 10 most challenged books of 2020 were the following:
- George by Alex Gino
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
For more information and explanations for why each book was banned, read the press release.
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