On January 10, 2024, a federal judge ruled that a case filed by PEN America, Penguin Random House, a diverse group of authors and parents and students from Escambia County, Florida, may proceed which would challenge removals and restrictions of books from school libraries that violate the authors’ rights to free speech.

According to PEN America’s latest report, Banned in the USA: The Mounting Pressure to Censor, book bans increased 33% in the 2022-23 school year. 

map of USA with book ban numbers 22-23The report highlights the disproportionate number of bans occurring in Florida — where 40 percent of all book bans took place in the 2022-23 school year — and shows how state legislation and coordinated pressure campaigns from local groups and individuals have driven mass restrictions on access to literature.

While the effects of state legislation and the influence of local groups and individual activists in supercharging book bans are not new, the growing effect they are having on book access in schools nationwide presents a cause for serious concern. 

PEN America works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others. PEN America donors support our work to protect writers, celebrate literature, and defend free speech. Please join us today.

Help us continue to champion the freedom to write and celebrate essential voices of literature by making an online donation today, becoming a Member, making a gift in honor of a loved one, leaving a legacy gift, or supporting one of our signature events.

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